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Understanding Illinois Rent Increase Guidelines for Landlords

Key Takeaways

  • In Illinois, there are no rent control laws that restrict how much landlords can increase the rent. This means landlords have the freedom to raise the rent by any amount.
  • Landlords should provide proper notice before raising the rent. Although a 30-day advance notice is customary, Illinois has no statewide notice requirements. Instead, the notice requirements are governed by individual cities. In Chicago, the notice period is 60 days for a six-month or longer fixed-term lease.
  • Landlords can keep any portion of the security deposit for property damage, but they must give tenants an itemized list of the damages and charges. They must refund the full deposit if they fail to provide this within 30 days.

Published on Feb 28, 2024 | Updated on Feb 28, 2024

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2024 updates to Illinois’ rent increase guidelines

In Illinois, there’s no cap on rent hikes for landlords. However, it’s against the law for landlords to use rent increases as a form of retaliation or discrimination against tenants. Since there are no rent control laws, landlords can raise the rent as much as they want.

Each state legislature has its own timeline for pushing through pending bills. Housing laws can be presented, considered, and enacted at different times throughout each legislative session.

Landlords must stay on top of the latest approved laws to comply with local and state regulations. The Illinois General Assembly will gather in January to potentially introduce rent control measures. The end of the session is in May or June.

How to raise rents in Illinois

Housing inventory often influences the fluctuation of the rental market. If there is a demand for housing and a decrease in inventory, that can drive rates up. Many landlords consider the economic conditions when arriving at rental rates. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the steps involved in raising rents in Illinois:

Step one: Determine your new rent price

Begin by reviewing the lease agreement to ensure you can raise the rent, and there aren’t rent increase limits. Before setting the new rental prices when the lease term has ended, consider how much other nearby rental units charge for rent, what your cash flow is, and how the current economy can impact the market, your property taxes, and cost of living. 

Once you’ve determined if your new rental rate is fair and will help you meet profitable return gains, you can prepare the written notice in advance. 

Step two: Prepare the notice of rent increase

In most cases, landlords include the official rent increase notice along with the new lease agreement. Hyperlink your official rent increase notice in an email addressed to your tenants. Whether to offer a brief description of the rent bump is entirely at the landlord’s discretion. 

Keeping an open line of communication and being transparent can cultivate understanding and goodwill in any relationship. 

Here’s an example of an email you might consider sending to your tenant: 

Dear Tenant [include Tenant’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I’m reaching out to discuss changes in our upcoming rental agreement due to current economic conditions.

After reviewing market trends and expenses, I’m adjusting the rent slightly to ensure we can cover property maintenance costs and other financial obligations.

We value you as a tenant and appreciate your understanding. If you have questions about the rental agreement or increase, please feel free to reach out. 

Best wishes, 

[Your Name]

Step three: Notify your tenant of the rent hike

Each city may have varying guidelines on how much notice to give your tenant before raising the rent. In Chicago, for instance, if a landlord intends to increase the rent, they must provide:

  • A 60-day notice if the tenant has resided in the apartment for over six months but less than three years
  • A 120-day notice if the tenant has lived in the apartment for over three years

Prepare in advance if your city mandates a 60-day notice for tenants. Offering early notice allows tenants ample time to adjust their finances and make necessary plans.

Resolving issues about rent control

Resolving any problems with rent control, rental properties, security deposits, and rent payments can feel overwhelming, but there are ways to handle it with grace when you’re informed on all topics. If a rent increase raises concerns with your tenant, start by reviewing local laws and the lease agreement. By being transparent when you initially raise the rent, you can minimize any disputes.

Look for guidance from landlord advocacy groups or legal advice. Always give tenants sufficient notice when you modify the rental agreement after the lease term ends. If your tenant moves out, and you take any portion of the security deposit, you must provide the tenant with an itemized list of the charges within 30 days. If you fail to do so, you must provide the tenant with a full refund.

Raising rent in retaliation is prohibited. Illinois maintains a comprehensive database of laws, including laws regarding rental properties. It may take time to update the database when new laws are passed. Alternatively, you can find recently approved rent control laws or security deposit laws on the Public Acts website if you can’t find newly enacted legislation on the Illinois General Assembly (ILCS) website. 

Here are additional resources:

FAQ: Illinois rent increase guidelines for landlords

There is a new bill titled HB3874. This is a proposed law, also known as the Rent Control Act. It aims to provide affordable housing and regulate how much landlords can adjust rent on fixed terms and month-to-month tenants. Landlords can only raise the rent every 12 months and must give 90 days of notice. The increase can’t be more than 15% of the current rent. If the unit is vacant and the landlord puts the rental property back on the market, they still must adhere to the same rules. 

If a new landlord takes over the rental property, they must stick with the same rules by giving  90 days of notice and adhering to the allowable rent increase.

Retaliation against tenants in any way is prohibited. Retaliatory rent increases may involve raising the rent in response to tenant complaints or repair requests. Some tenant complaints may result from the following actions by landlords:

  • Failing to provide reasonable notice on rent adjustments
  • Not following a new rent control ordinance
  • Violating the terms in a residential lease
  • Implementing excessive rent hikes in retaliation
  • Failing to keep the apartment complex or rental property habitable

If a landlord follows the rent control ordinance and does not raise rent on ill-natured intent, they are not retaliating.

Illinois has no statewide rent control laws or limitations on rent increases, so a landlord can raise the rent to any amount. Landlords are advised to stay aware of new rent control regulations and give proper notice to tenants before raising the rent.

Our final thoughts

Before raising the rent, landlords should comb through their rental agreement and check newly approved rent control ordinances to ensure they follow the laws and prevent landlord-tenant disputes. Currently, there are no rent increase limitations in Illinois.

Some laws give landlords and tenants legal rights and responsibilities. Contact your local government agencies if you have questions about what tenants and landlords are responsible for in their rental units.

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