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Know Your Rights: Illinois Rent Increase Laws

Know Your Rights: Illinois Rent Increase Laws

With an average rent of $1,800 per month, rent in Illinois is 14% lower than the national average. 

However, your landlord might hike your rent as much as they want since Illinois lacks state laws governing rent increases. With just one change in your lease, your rent could go from affordable to way too expensive, leaving you in a tough spot trying to figure out how to pay for your house.

But don’t worry. Even though Illinois laws don't cap how much landlords can increase rent, they can't just do it whenever they feel like it. There are rules about when they can bump up your rent, and they have to give you plenty of notice before they do so.

We’re here to help you learn the nitty-gritty of Illinois rent increase laws. We'll shed light on how much and how often your landlord can increase your rent and what you can do about it.

  • Illinois Rent Increase Laws
  • How To Spot an Illegal Rent Increase in Illinois
  • How To Negotiate a Rent Increase in Illinois
  • Final Thoughts: Illinois Rent Increase Laws and How To Handle Them

Illinois Rent Increase Laws

Illinois currently doesn't have any rent control laws. This means Illinois landlords can increase rent by any amount they see fit as long as they provide advance notice. 

For a week-to-week tenancy, the amount of notice is seven days, and for a month-to-month lease, they must give you a 30-day notice. However, if you're under a fixed-term lease (such as a year-long agreement), your landlord can only increase your rent when the lease expires.

That said, this might change soon as significant legislative efforts suggest that changes may be on the horizon.

The Rent Control Act sponsored by Rep. Hoan Huynh, alongside the Tenant Protection Act championed by Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, Jr., Theresa Mah, and others, indicates a strong push towards establishing rent control laws in the Prairie State.

If these acts pass, they could introduce rent control measures to protect tenants from steep rent increases and provide more stability in the rental market.

For example, under the Rent Control Act, the property manager will only be able to increase your rent by up to 15% once every 12 months. But before they do so, they must give you 90 days of notice. 

The Tenant Protection Act, which complements the Rent Control Act, will ensure that your rent can't go up more than the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the same one-year period or 3%, whichever is lower.

City-Specific Rules on Rent Increase in Illinois

Different cities in Illinois might have slightly different laws regarding rent control. In Chicago, for example, the Fair Notice Ordinance has specific rules that directly impact when your landlord can increase the amount of rent. 

If you've been living in your rental unit for more than six months but less than three years, your landlord should give you 60 days' notice before they raise your rent. For those who've called their apartment home for over three years, this notice period extends to 120 days.

These regulations apply regardless of your lease type, be it a formal year lease agreement or an informal month-to-month arrangement. 

Always check with your local government if similar rent control ordinances exist in your city, as regulations can vary significantly from one town to another. Also, consult with your municipality to learn about landlord-tenant laws that govern both landlord and tenant rights.

How To Spot an Illegal Rent Increase in Illinois

Despite there not being statewide rent control laws, a rent increase could become illegal under specific circumstances. 

Here’s when a rent hike might cross the line and you may need to seek legal advice:

  • Violation of lease terms: If you have a fixed-term lease, such as for one year, any attempt to raise the rent before the lease expires (without a clause allowing for such an increase) is illegal.
  • Insufficient notice: Your landlord should give you the appropriate written notice before raising the rent for month-to-month or week-to-week tenancies. Failing to do so makes the rent increase unlawful.
  • Discrimination: Any rent increase based on discriminatory reasons, such as race, religion, gender, family status, or nationality, is illegal under federal and state fair housing laws.
  • Retaliation: It’s illegal for your landlord to increase your rent as retaliation for exercising your legal rights, such as complaining to a health inspector about unsafe living conditions in your rental property.
  • Violating local ordinances: In cities like Chicago, where specific ordinances like the Fair Notice Ordinance exist, your landlord must stick to longer notice periods for increasing rent based on the duration of your tenancy. If they ignore these local laws, then the rent increase becomes illegal.

Where to Report Illegal Rent Increases in Illinois

If you believe your landlord is raising your rent illegally, you can seek help from several sources, including:

How To Negotiate a Rent Increase in Illinois

Facing a rent hike can be stressful, but with the right approach, you can negotiate a reasonable outcome that favors both you and your landlord. 

Let's explore some practical steps to help you handle this situation.

Understand the Market

Research the current rental market in your area. If the market is hot and properties rent out quickly for higher prices, your landlord might have a strong position. On the flip side, if there are many vacancies and rent drops, you may have a stronger case for negotiating a lower price.

Show You’re a Good Tenant

If you've been a good tenant — making rent payments on time and maintaining the property well — remind your landlord about it. Having a good history of being reliable can help change your landlord's mind about the rent increase.

Propose Alternatives

If the rent increase is inevitable, consider negotiating other terms to offset the impact. This could include modifying the rental agreement to lock in the current rate for a longer period.

Be Ready To Compromise

Negotiation is a two-way street. So, be prepared to meet your landlord halfway, whether that's accepting a smaller increase than originally stated or agreeing to some conditions that benefit both parties.

Get Renters Insurance

Having renters insurance can prove to your landlord that you're responsible and serious about protecting your living space, which could work in your favor during negotiations. 

Know When To Walk Away

If negotiations fail and the rent increase is too high for your budget, it might be time to move out. However, remember that the cost of moving might outweigh the rent increase, so consider your options carefully.

Final Thoughts: Illinois Rent Increase Laws 

Although your landlord can raise rent as they want, they must give you proper notice. They also can't do so for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. 

However, with new laws possibly coming soon, like the Rent Control Act and the Tenant Protection Act, things might get better for Illinois renters. These laws could help keep rent from increasing too much and stabilize prices.

While we wait to see what happens with these laws, there’s something you can always count on: making sure your stuff is safe. That's where renters insurance from Goodcover can really help.

Protect your stuff in Illinois by getting renters insurance from Goodcover. It may also help with your rent negotiations.

Note: This post is for informational purposes; insurance regulation and coverage specifics vary by location and person. Check your policy for exact coverage information.

For additional questions, 
reach out to us – we’re happy to help.

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