As an attorney, I often have clients ask me the following question about landlord-tenant disputes:
“My friend told me I can sue my landlord for withholding my security deposit and I can recover twice the amount, right?”
My answer to this is maybe; it depends upon whether your landlord meets certain requirements.
The Illinois Security Deposit Return Act (765 ILCS 710) is the law that governs when and how your landlord can withhold your security deposit. However, what most tenants do not realize is that this act only applies to landlords who own 5 or more units.
In other words, this only applies to commercial landlords and property management companies. If your landlord rents you a single unit or even rents out another unit to some other tenant, this act will not apply to him. What governs in these cases is the terms of the written lease. If you are unsure how to determine the legal holdings in your lease, you should contact a lawyer who has experience in landlord-tenant issues. We routinely handle these type of cases.