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Month-to-Month Lease Laws in Illinois

Illinois state law requires landlords to give 30 days' notice if they plan to terminate a month-to-month lease.

Many renters in Illinois have month-to-month leases instead of year-long leases. Because month-to-month leases are sometimes verbal agreements—and there’s not much state law pertaining to them—the terms can seem murky. But Illinois law is clear that both landlords and tenants can end a month-to-month lease at any time with at least 30 days’ notice.

Tenants with an oral or expired lease agreement are month-to-month

Month-to-month leases are a type of periodic tenancy that automatically renews at the end of every rent payment period. In Illinois, month-to-month tenancies are typically established in one of the following ways:

  1. The landlord and tenant have an oral agreement for a month-to-month lease—even an informal one that only specifies the monthly rent.
  2. The landlord and tenant have a written agreement that creates a month-to-month lease.
  3. The tenant stays on after a fixed-term lease expires, keeps paying rent, and the landlord accepts the rent, creating a new month-to-month tenancy.

Unlike a fixed-term tenancy, which has a specific start and end date, month-to-month tenancies are a lot more flexible. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of tenancy that should be considered before entering into either one.

Landlords must give 30 days’ notice to end a month-to-month lease

A landlord can end a month-to-month lease with at least one month’s written notice.1 However, that doesn’t mean that the tenancy ends exactly 30 calendar days from the date the notice is delivered. Instead, it ends on the last day of the month, as long as it’s at least 30 days away. For example, if a landlord delivered notice on August 1st, then the tenancy would be up on August 31st. But if a landlord delivered notice on August 15th, the tenancy wouldn’t be up until September 30th. This is a strict requirement—Illinois courts have found that 29 days' notice isn’t sufficient.2

The notice should specify which date the tenant will move out. State law doesn’t indicate if notice must be physically delivered, just that it be written. In that case, an email or text giving notice may be sufficient.

From a legal standpoint, Illinois tenants aren’t technically required to notify their landlord that they want to terminate a month-to-month lease. However, it’s generally accepted practice that tenants let their landlord know they’re moving out, and—given the vagueness of the law—it’s highly recommended to avoid any potential issues.

There are penalties for not providing proper notice

If a month-to-month tenant gives notice but ends up remaining in the unit, they must pay the landlord double the rent for the time they stay.3

In Chicago, if the landlord doesn’t give the required 30 days' notice, a tenant can remain in their rental up to 60 days after the end date on the lease. During this time, a tenant must pay rent and follow the terms of the original lease.4

Month-to-month leases can be ended for any reason

While landlords can only evict a tenant for doing something wrong—like not paying rent or breaking the terms of the lease—they don’t need any specific reason to terminate a month-to-month lease. The only thing they can’t do is end a lease to get back at a tenant or due to discrimination for things like age, marital status, sexual orientation, or another protected class under Illinois’ fair housing laws.

If a month-to-month tenant does violate their lease agreement, landlords can formally evict them. But because the eviction process in Illinois can take up to 90 days and has very specific requirements, landlords may have an easier time ending a month-to-month lease with a 30-day-notice.

Illinois has no state statutes on how much notice is required to change rent or other lease terms. As a rule of thumb, landlords should give month-to-month tenants at least 30 days’ notice before a rent increase or lease change goes into effect.

Any change must be given 30 days before the next rental payment is due—not just 30 calendar days from the notice. For example, a landlord who wants to raise rent beginning October 1st must give the tenant notice no later than September 1st. If the landlord gives notice on September 15th, the rental increase wouldn’t go into effect until November 1st.

Since Illinois doesn’t have rent control laws, there’s no limit on how much landlords can increase rent.

[1] 735 ILCS 5/9-207

[2] William Knapp & Co. v. Jones, 335 Ill. App. 226 (1st Dist. 1948)

[3] 735 ILCS 5/9-203

[4] Chicago RLTO §5-12-130

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.