Illinois Security Deposit Return Act

 

 

The tenant in this case rented one unit in a 12-unit building in Addison, DuPage County.  She gave a $1,050 security deposit.  This property was covered by the Illinois Security Deposit Return Act (§ 765 ILCS 710/1) because it had five or more units.

 

The Return Act contains the same requirement as RLTO § 5-12-080(d) that a landlord provide a written itemized statement to a tenant within 30 days after the tenant moves out if the landlord is withholding from a security deposit for property damage.  Unlike the RLTO, tenants have to prove that their landlord's failure to provide the written statement on time was a refusal, or that the landlord acted in bad faith.  There is no automatic liability under the Return Act.  It says:

 

"Upon a finding by a circuit court that a lessor has refused to supply the itemized statement required by this Section, or has supplied such statement in bad faith, and has failed or refused to return the amount of the security deposit due within the time limits provided, the lessor shall be liable for an amount equal to twice the amount of the security deposit due, together with court costs and reasonable attorney's fees."

 

The tenant in this case moved out after a walk-through inspection on the last day of her lease; March 31.  The only mail she got was postmarked May 14, and contained just $105 from the $1,050 deposit.  The landlord's May 14 letter said there was damage and dirtiness for which he was deducting $900+ from the tenant's security deposit.  (The tenant conceded $50 in damage to a mirror).

 

 

 

But the landlord insisted that the May 14 letter and envelope were the second mailing the landlord sent.  According to the landlord, he had mailed a first itemized statement on April 28, within the 30 day window.  That envelope had never come back, but he had copies of the alleged contents, and testified to putting the stamped envelope in the mail on April 28.

 

The judge did not believe the landlord, and found that the landlord had violated the Return Act.  The judge awarded the tenant penalty damages equal to twice the amount withheld under the Return Act, plus return of the withheld amount, plus costs and attorney fees.