Housing

A lack of secure housing caused by wrongful evictions or withheld security deposits can pose a serious threat to the well-being of tenants and their families. With everything from childcare to job security put at risk by the deprivation of a place to live, we work with our housing clients to help them regain stability in their lives.

The Clinic assists tenant who are facing housing problems such as:

  • Evictions
  • Landlord-tenant disputes
  • Conditions/repairs
  • Breaking a lease
  • Rental assistance
  • Illegal lockouts
  • Security deposits
  • Termination from subsidy
  • Reasonable accommodations

Tenant and Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

Tenant Rights
  • Demand lease in writing
  • Access the premises unless an eviction is enforced
    • Under the Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act, landlords cannot evict tenants for complaining to a governmental authority about any health code, building ordinance, or similar regulation
  • Get their security deposit back
  • Sue their landlord for willfully failing to pay interest and recover an amount equal to rent, security deposit, court costs, and attorney’s fees
  • End a lease/rental agreement because of domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence under the Illinois Safe Homes Act
  • Equal treatment by their current or prospective landlord, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, order of protection status, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or unfavorable discharge from military service in connection with financial transaction, access to financial credit, the availability of public accommodations, and immigration status
Tenant Responsibilities
  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep the rental clean and undamaged
  • Pay for damages beyond normal wear and tear
  • Pay the utility bill if the lease says so
  • Seek approval from landlord to make changes to the rental unit
  • Comply with the lease
Landlord Rights
  • Set the amount of rent and security deposit
    • If there is only an oral lease, the landlord has the right to change the rent month-to-month
    • If there is a written lease, then the rent the tenant owes is as specified in the lease
  • Charge tenants a reasonable fee for late payments
  • Make reasonable rules and regulation
Tenant Rights

The implied warranty of habitability in Illinois says that a tenant may seek damages if a reasonable person would identify a property defect substantial enough for the property to be uninhabitable

Landlords therefore have the responsibility to:

  • Keep rentals fit to live in
  • Make all necessary repairs
  • Keep the rental in compliance with state and local codes

Landlords cannot:

  • Enter tenants’ units without their permission
  • Evict tenants without good cause:
    • Nonpayment of rent
    • Lease violation
    • Severe damage to the building
    • Illegal activities

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Frequently Asked Questions

I'm having trouble paying my rent, what can I do?

Talk to your landlord or property manager if you are having trouble paying rent. You can work out an agreement to pay your rent late or set up a payment plan. Make sure any agreements are in writing. You also may be able to apply for rental assistance through your county or township.

Can my landlord lock me out of my apartment?

No. It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out of your apartment even if you are behind in rent. Only a judge in eviction court can order that your landlord gets legal possession of your apartment and only a Sheriff can enforce that eviction order. This means that your landlord cannot change the locks, turn off your utilities, remove your belongings or remove appliances. If your landlord locks you out of your apartment, you should contact the police department.

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