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Rent Payment Laws in Illinois

In Illinois, most of the rules for paying rent are determined by the lease. Although there’s no rent control, landlords are required to give tenants 60 days’ notice of a rent increase.

All tenant and landlord relationships have at least one thing in common: rent payments. In Illinois, most aspects of paying rent are governed by individual leases, not by state law. Landlords can decide when (and how) they want rent to be paid, and there are no limits on how much they can charge. However, the law does regulate what happens when a landlord wants to raise the rent, or when a tenant misses a rent payment.

How and when to pay rent is mostly up to the lease

Illinois law doesn’t mention how and when rent is to be paid. So, if a lease states that tenants must pay online (or by check, or by Venmo), that lease provision is legal. If the lease states that tenants must pay on the first, third, or 15th of the month, those requirements are also legal.

There is one very specific exception: if a building has 100 or more units, and there is an office on the property of the building, a tenant must be allowed to pay rent by bringing it directly to that office.1 Otherwise, landlords can decide the process for payment on their own and set it down in the lease.

Late fees are allowed, but must be reasonable

Illinois law doesn’t address late fees (nor does it require any sort of “grace period” for paying rent behind schedule). As long as the process is mentioned in the lease, a tenant can be penalized for paying their rent late—through a fixed late fee, interest accumulated on unpaid rent, or both.

A late fee must be “reasonable,” but it’s up to a court to decide what counts as reasonable.2 There are only a handful of decisions addressing this issue, but courts have upheld late fees ranging from 2% of the rent,2 to $200 per month,3 to $25 dollars per day.4

A word of warning: You may see mentions of 770 ILCS 95/7.10 floating around online in reference to late rent fees in Illinois. This section of the law reads “a late fee of $20 or 20% of the rental fee for each month an occupant does not pay rent, whichever is greater, is deemed reasonable.” But don’t be fooled—this law does not apply to residential rentals! It only applies to storage units.

Tenants have five days to pay rent after a "notice to quit"

If a tenant doesn’t pay their rent, a landlord who wants to take legal action must start by serving the tenant with a “notice to quit.” This notice informs the tenant that they haven’t paid rent on time and that the landlord intends to take legal action against them. It must be in writing and delivered in-person to the tenant. Once that notice is served, the tenant has five days to pay the total amount of rent owed and stop the eviction from moving forward.5 After that period is up, a tenant can’t pay what they owe in rent (and therefore stop eviction proceedings) unless the landlord agrees to it.

Landlords can raise the rent with 60 days’ notice

If a landlord wants to increase the rent of a tenant in a yearly lease, they must wait until that lease is going to expire—it’s not legal to raise rent during the term of a lease. Landlords are required to give tenants on a yearly lease at least 60 days’ notice that they intend to terminate or modify the current lease, which includes raising rent.6

For week-to-week tenancies, a landlord must provide seven days’ notice of a rent increase. For month-to-month tenancies, a landlord must provide 30 days’ notice.7

There is no rent control in Illinois

In 1997, Illinois adopted a law called the Rent Control Preemption Act.8 This broad and far-reaching law barred all local governments—cities, towns, and other municipalities—from limiting the amount of rent that can be charged on any residence. While there has been talk in recent years of rescinding this law, it remains in place, and as such, there is no such thing as “rent control” in the state of Illinois.

[1] 735 ILCS 5/9-218

[2] Collins v. Hurst, Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District

[3] Reimer Development Inc. v. Reimer, Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District

[4] Eva M. Magnus Tr. v. Isaacson, Appellate Court of Illinois, First District

[5] 735 ILCS 5/9-209

[6] 735 ILCS 5/9-205

[7] 735 ILCS 5/9-207

[8] 50 ILCS 825

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