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Can I Withhold Rent for Repairs in Illinois?

If you live in Chicago, yes. If you live anywhere else in Illinois, it's illegal for tenants to withhold rent for repairs—no matter how serious the issue.

State law in Illinois allows you to make repairs and deduct the cost from your rent, as long as it's less than $500 or half a month's rent (whichever is lower). But if the issue with your rental is really serious, there's a good chance a repair would cost more than that. That means you're in something of a bind, since Illinois law doesn't allow tenants to stop paying their rent until their landlord makes repairs—a tactic known as "rent withholding."

Do I have any other options?

Illinois does have an implied warranty of habitability, which means that your landlord is required to keep your unit in good shape. If the problem with your rental is really serious—and your landlord won't fix it within a reasonable amount of time—you may be able to break your lease entirely.

What if I live in Chicago?

You have a lot more options if you live in Chicago. The city municipal code1 gives additional options for renters dealing with what it calls “material noncompliance” with the “responsibility to maintain.”2 Assuming that you didn't cause the damage yourself, you can withhold from the rent payment “an amount that reasonably reflects the reduced valued of the premises” after giving your landlord 24 hours to fix the problem.

[1] Municipal Code of Chicago §5-12-110

[2] Municipal Code of Chicago §5-12-070

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