Prairie State Legal Services

Renter's Handbook


This handbook does not provide all there is to know about renting, but it does provide helpful information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. The index gives the titles of all the areas covered in this handbook. This will allow you to read the sections that interest you the most. Like any area of law, landlord-tenant law can be complex and overlapping. Therefore, many of the sections repeat information in other sections and occasionally refer to other sections. This repetition was intended to make it as easy as possible for you to find answers to your questions.

This handbook is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice specific to your situation nor is it meant to replace a lawyer. Each individual situation is unique. The information in this handbook applies to general housing situations and should help avoid many problems before they happen. There are times when it would be wise to consult a lawyer and there are other times when it is essential to do so. That decision is one that only you can make.

If you need to consult an attorney but cannot afford one and you live in a county served by Prairie State Legal Services, please call the nearest Prairie State office. The offices and telephone numbers are listed at the back of this handbook.

If you live in a county not served by Prairie State and cannot afford an attorney, please contact one of the other federally funded legal services programs which are also listed in the back of this book for assistance.

For individuals who are above legal services income guidelines, you may contact either the Illinois State Bar Association Lawyer Referral Program, a county Lawyer Referral Program or a private attorney.

Some communities in Illinois also have their own landlord-tenant ordinance. If your community has its own ordinance, it may provide you with additional or different rights and responsibilities. Please read the ordinance carefully.

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