Security Deposit Law in Illinois


   In 1989, the Illinois Court 
of Appeals discussed the history and purpose of the 
severe penalties for landlords and 
deposit-sized awards for tenants:








Illinois State Capitol Building - Springfield
   The legislative history clearly states that the 
purpose of section 2 was to set forth a penalty for
lessors who ignored the mandate of section 1 of the 
Act. While debating the severity of the penalty to 
be imposed for violation of section 1, one of the 
legislators stated:
   "[I]t was pointed out to me that the average rent 
   is three hundred, so it would mean that the landlord 
   would be liable or the management firm would be liable 
   for fifteen dollars[.] [Y]ou and I know that this is 
   not a realistic figure that he's not going to abide by 
   the law for fifteen dollars knowing full well that the
   tenants would not engage a lawyer, would not take
   the day off * * * to appear in court and as a result
   we had to bring it to a realistic position so that,
   the owners of these buildings would comply and this
   is the reason for it." (citation omitted)
Seal of State of Illinois - Engraving
   Another legislator noted that from his experience in his
district lessors were not abiding by their legal obligation 
under section 1 of the Act to pay interest on security 
deposits. (Citation omitted). In essence, the legislative 
purpose was to impose a statutory penalty at a severity 
level that would secure statutory compliance by lessors.
Gittleman v. Create, Inc., 189 Ill. App.3d 199, 203-204 (1989). 

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