Illinois Rent Control Laws in 2024

Rent control refers to laws or ordinances that set limits on how much landlords can increase rent or how frequently rent can be raised. The purpose of rent control is to provide more stability for tenants and protect them from large, sudden rent increases. 

Rent control policies aim to keep housing affordable, prevent tenant displacement, and restrict landlords' ability to drastically hike rents to maximize profits. By capping annual rent increases, usually to a percentage based on inflation, proponents argue rent control allows low- and middle-income tenants to remain in their homes and neighborhoods long-term.

However, opponents believe rent control reduces incentives for landlords to properly maintain properties and construct new housing. There are also concerns that rent control can shrink the supply of available rental units if landlords decide to convert apartments to condos.

Understanding rent control laws, if they exist, is important for both tenants and landlords to navigate rental housing markets and make informed choices about their rights and responsibilities.

History of Rent Control in Illinois  

Illinois has had a tumultuous history with rent control laws. In the years following World War II, there was a nationwide housing shortage which led some cities to enact rent control ordinances as an emergency measure. Chicago was one of those cities that implemented rent controls from 1942 to 1947. However, the ordinances were allowed to expire in 1947.  

Several decades later, a handful of cities and towns in Illinois attempted to pass new rent control laws in the 1980s and 1990s. In response, the Illinois General Assembly took action by passing the Rent Control Preemption Act in 1997. This law is also known as Public Act 90-0404 or 50 ILCS 825.

The Rent Control Preemption Act prohibits local governments in Illinois from implementing any form of residential rent control. Essentially, it centralizes rent control authority to the state government. The law grandfathers in the few local ordinances that existed prior to its passage. However, those ordinances cannot be amended to make them more stringent.

The preemption act has effectively banned city or county level rent control in Illinois for over 20 years now. The state legislature retains the power to enact statewide rent control, but has not chosen to do so yet. Meanwhile, the lack of local rent control measures has allowed landlords to dictate market rates for rent largely unchecked.

Current Statewide Rent Control Laws  

Illinois currently does not have any statewide laws that limit or regulate how much landlords can increase rent. This means there is no cap on the amount that rent can be raised across the state. 

The lack of rent control legislation at the state level allows landlords to increase rent without restriction when a lease expires or for month-to-month tenants. There is no limit on the percentage a landlord can raise the rent, unlike in some cities and states that have enacted rent stabilization regulations. Landlords have the ability to raise rents to market rates when new leases are signed.

The state also does not have any laws requiring landlords to justify or explain rent increases, like some city ordinances mandate. Overall, Illinois statewide rent control laws are limited since the state legislature has not passed any bills imposing caps on rent hikes or permitting local rent regulations. This gives landlords significant leeway over setting rental rates.

Local Rent Control Ordinances

Illinois effectively prohibits cities and counties from enacting their own residential rent control measures through the Rent Control Preemption Act passed in 1997. This state law supersedes any local ordinances and prevents municipalities from implementing rent regulation policies, even in response to rising housing costs. 

The preemption act does allow for limited exceptions in the case of a documented housing emergency. However, the requirements to qualify for this exemption are extensive. Local governments must prepare a detailed housing report, hold public hearings, and obtain approval from the state legislature. 

In effect, the Rent Control Preemption Act serves as a statewide ban on rent control. No city or county in Illinois currently has the authority to enact residential rent stabilization ordinances or other rent control policies. Recent attempts by cities like Chicago to establish rent control have been barred under the existing state law.

Unless the preemption act is repealed at the state level, local governments will remain prohibited from passing their own rent control measures to cap or limit rent increases. The lack of local authority has prevented city initiatives to stabilize rents amid rising housing costs.

How Often Can Rent Be Raised in Illinois?

Unlike some other states, Illinois does not currently have any laws limiting how often rent can be raised statewide. However, there are some limitations landlords must follow:

  • For month-to-month leases, rent can only be increased once per year. Landlords cannot raise the rent multiple times in a 12 month period for month-to-month tenants.  
  • For leases with a defined term (e.g. 6 months, 1 year etc.), the rent cannot be increased during the lease term unless specifically allowed by the lease. Once the initial term is up, the landlord can raise the rent for any renewals or month-to-month continuations.
  • In certain cities with local ordinances, there may be additional restrictions on the frequency of rent increases, even for month-to-month leases. However, statewide Illinois law does not limit rent increases beyond once per year for monthly tenants.
  • Landlords must provide proper written notice before raising rent (generally 30 days). But as long as notice is given, they can raise the rent up to the maximum frequency allowed.

So in summary, while Illinois does not impose a hard limit or cap on rent increases, landlords cannot arbitrarily raise rent multiple times a year for month-to-month tenants. Following proper procedures and notice requirements is key.

Rent Increase Notice Requirements 

In Illinois, landlords must provide tenants with proper written notice before increasing rent on a rental unit. There are specific notice requirements that must be followed:

  • For month-to-month leases - The landlord must provide at least 30 days advance written notice of a rent increase.  
  • For leases of less than a year - The landlord must provide 30 days notice of a rent increase.
  • For leases of 1 year or more - The landlord must provide 60 days advance written notice of a rent increase.

The written notice provided by the landlord regarding a rent increase must state the new rental amount, the date when the increase takes effect, and the landlord's signature. If a landlord does not provide proper notice per the above requirements before raising rent, the increase may not be valid or enforceable. 

Tenants should review their lease agreement and follow up with the landlord in writing if they believe they have not been given appropriate notice of a rent increase. There are legal remedies available if a landlord improperly increases rent without proper notice.

Rent Increases in Ongoing Leases

Illinois law prohibits landlords from raising the rent during the term of an existing lease. The rent amount agreed upon at the beginning of the lease remains in effect for the full duration of the lease term. Landlords are only allowed to raise the rent at the end of a lease, with proper advance notice given to the tenant. 

If a landlord attempts to increase the rent in the middle of a lease, the tenant is not obligated to pay the higher amount. The original rent price stated in the lease agreement is the legal amount owed for the remainder of the lease term. Attempts to raise the rent during an ongoing lease are not enforceable under Illinois state law.

The only situation in which rent could be increased during a lease term is if the tenant and landlord mutually agree to amend the existing lease contract in writing. The rent increase would need to be negotiated and the tenant would need to formally consent to the new rent amount by signing a lease addendum. Without the tenant's documented agreement, landlords have no right to impose rent hikes during the lease period.

Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords in Illinois have certain responsibilities to provide their tenants with habitable living conditions. Under the Illinois Tenant Protection Act, landlords must ensure that rental units meet basic structural, health, and safety standards. This includes providing essential amenities like hot and cold running water, heat in winter, and working electrical and sanitation systems. Landlords are also required to make repairs in a timely manner if aspects of the unit are damaged or deteriorate over time.

Landlords cannot harass or retaliate against tenants who request repairs or maintenance. Harassment tactics like changing locks, removing doors/windows, or shutting off utilities are illegal. Landlords must follow proper legal procedures for evictions, which means they cannot forcibly remove or lock out tenants without a court order. 

If landlords fail to maintain habitable living conditions or harass tenants, legal remedies are available. Tenants can withhold rent after giving notice, terminate the lease, or sue the landlord for damages. There are also legal aid organizations that provide assistance to renters facing issues like substandard housing conditions or illegal evictions in Illinois.

Tenant Protections

Tenants in Illinois have certain protections against unlawful actions by landlords regarding rent increases and evictions. 


Under the Illinois Retaliatory Eviction Act, landlords cannot retaliate against tenants by increasing rent, decreasing services, threatening eviction, or actually evicting tenants if they have:

  • Complained to a government agency about code violations
  • Participated in a tenant's union or rights group
  • Filed a lawsuit against the landlord for violations of the lease or the law

If a landlord takes any retaliatory action within 6 months of the above tenant activities, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages, legal fees, and other costs.

Unlawful Evictions

Landlords in Illinois must follow proper procedures for evicting tenants. They cannot force tenants to move out by:

  • Changing the locks
  • Removing doors, windows, appliances, or fixtures
  • Cutting off utilities like electricity, gas, or water
  • Using or threatening violence against tenants

If a landlord unlawfully evicts a tenant, the tenant can sue for possession of the unit, damages, and attorneys fees. The sheriff will help the tenant move back in if needed.


Under the Tenant Protection Act, landlords must provide units that meet basic standards of habitability, including:

  • Functioning plumbing, heating, electricity, locks, windows, etc.
  • No insect/rodent infestations
  • No mold or water damage

If a unit is uninhabitable, tenants can withhold rent or even break the lease under certain conditions. Tenants should keep documentation and give written notice to the landlord regarding uninhabitable conditions.

Future Legislation

Several bills have been introduced in recent years that aim to implement some form of rent control in Illinois. The most prominent is the Tenant Protection Act, introduced in 2021 as House Bill 3874. 

The Tenant Protection Act proposes:

  • Limiting rent increases to no more than 5% annually
  • Requiring 180 days notice for rent increases over 5% 
  • Preventing landlords from increasing rent more than once per year
  • Prohibiting landlords from increasing rent during the first year of a lease

The bill would essentially institute statewide rent control measures for the first time in Illinois. It aims to protect tenants from excessive rent hikes and provide more stability in the rental market. 

The Tenant Protection Act is still making its way through the Illinois legislature. If passed, it would overturn the Rent Control Preemption Act and allow city governments to enact additional local rent control policies.

Advocates argue the bill is necessary to make housing more affordable and prevent tenant displacement. Critics claim it will discourage construction of new rental units and decrease available housing. The debate continues as legislators weigh the potential impacts.

Passage of the Tenant Protection Act would significantly alter landlord-tenant relations across Illinois. Both renters and landlords are watching closely to see if statewide rent control becomes a reality.

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