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What Is an Illinois Rental Application?

In Illinois, a rental application is a document that determines the qualifications of a potential tenant for a rental property or apartment. These forms are documents that landlords use to uniformly collect all applicants’ information to help them determine the most worthy applicant. These applications provide an in-depth look into an applicant’s past and current financial and living situation.

For example, a rental application may reveal that one applicant makes more money than the rest of the people that applied. However, the rental application may also reveal (perhaps after a background/credit check) that the person who makes more money than the other applicants also has a history of evictions and late credit card payments, proving that they are not the ideal tenant. The rental application effectively showed the landlord that this person was not the best candidate for this apartment.

Rental applications generally come with a fee to pay for the landlord to process and order a background/credit check.

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The Illinois Rental Application Process

The Illinois rental application allows landlords to verify a prospective tenant's background information and credit history before signing a lease agreement. In Illinois, there is no maximum for an application fee; the landlord may ask for any amount.

Landlords in Illinois may also ask a prospective tenant any amount for a security deposit; there is no maximum.

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A Sample Illinois Rental Application with Examples for Each Step

The rental application should include the following sections:

  • Prospective Property including complete address, type of unit, and square footage
  • Personal Information about the Applicant including full name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number or Illinois state ID, current address, phone number(s), email address, and name, address, and phone number of nearest living relative (not co-applicant)
  • Rental History for the last three addresses, including current/previous address(es), name and phone number of landlord/manager, how long they lived at the address, and reason for leaving
  • Employment History/Income for the past five years, including current/previous employer(s), address, position, dates of employment, supervisor name and phone number, salary/monthly income, other sources of income, monthly income, name, address, and phone number of provider, bank account(s), bank balance(s), and credit card accounts/balance owed
  • Other Occupants/Roommates including full name and relationship to the prospective tenant
  • Personal References (unrelated to the applicant) including name, phone number, and how long known; this section must be dated and signed to give the landlord permission to contact the references
  • Vehicles including make/model, year, and license plate number/state
  • Pet Information if any; if there are any restrictions regarding pets on the property, they should be listed on the rental application
  • Personal History/Statement including the need for a service dog, smoking status, ever rejected for a lease, prior evictions, prior/pending lawsuits, prior bankruptcies, prior felony convictions/whether subject to the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act (or a comparable law in a different jurisdiction)
  • Dated Agreement and Authorized Signature including consent to a credit/criminal background check and the application fee

Rental Application Resources for Tenants in Illinois

Illinois Legal Aid Online                

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Illinois Tenants Union                                     

Illinois Rental Application Laws

According to Illinois State Law (765 Ill. Comp. Stat. 710/1; 715/1 to 715/3), a landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit no later than 30 days after they vacate the premises.

Download a PDF or Word Template

Illinois Rental Application

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