According to the housing laws of Illinois, landlords are required to make substantial repairs on the rental property to ensure that is it habitable and safe for the dwellers. The landlord's duties and responsibilities include making repairs resulting from day to day use of the property such as repairing leaking roofs, replacing loose door handles and repainting fading paint. Regular maintenance of other technical areas such as electrical systems, plumbing, and sewerage also fall under the landlord's duties. Common areas of the building must be kept clean and maintained, this includes hallways and yards and the clearing of snow from walkways and driveways.
Prior to moving into a rental property, the tenant should go through the lease to understand their rights and responsibilities and whether their right to demand for repairs has been waived.
Damages such as broken toilet seat, burns on the carpet, torn or missing curtains and others that are not a result of natural wear and tear fall under the responsibility of the tenant and the landlord cannot be held liable. Provided that you have paid all your rent on time and followed your duties as a tenant, the landlord must make regular repairs and maintenance on the property.
If you need repairs done on your premise, and the reasonable repair costs does not exceed the lesser of $500, or half of your monthly rent, you may send the landlord a repair request letter asking them to make the necessary fixes. The landlord, then has 14 days to make the repairs. This Repair Request Letter refers to the Illinois housing laws, lets you list the damages you need repaired and reminds the landlord that their failure to make repairs is in violation of the state laws, and that they risk legal action. When sending the letter to the landlord, it is always important to take photos and/or videos of the areas that need to be repaired.
Can a tenant "repair and deduct" in Illinois?
If a landlord in Illinois violates the state's housing code by failing to make the necessary repairs and maintenance as required by law, the tenant has the right to withhold rent for repairs under Residential Tenants' Right to Repair Act. However, a Request for Repair Letter is the recommended first option as it also gives the landlord a reasonable time frame to make the necessary repairs before seeking legal action. Before sending the letter, make sure to save a copy for future reference and send it through certified mail for a return receipt.