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What Happens After a Written Lease Expires in Illinois?

Article written by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we answer the question, “what happens after a written lease expires in Illinois?”  

When a written lease for a specified term expires, the default rule is that the tenant is required to move out and may be evicted as a holdover tenant if he or she fails to do so.  See: How to Evict a Tenant in Illinois.

If the tenant continues to pay rent to the landlord and the landlord continues to accept it, the terms of the written lease remain in effect until the tenant moves out.  However, the lease does not automatically renew for the same duration as the original lease without the landlord and tenant executing a document in writing agreeing to this.  Instead, the lease becomes a month to month lease, regardless of what the original term of the lease was. 

This means that each party must give the other 30 days notice before terminating it.  If the tenant wants to move out, he or she is required to inform the landlord 30 days in advance.  On the flip side, the landlord is required to give the tenant 30 days notice prior to filing a petition for eviction.  For more on evicting a tenant on a month to month lease, check out: Can You Evict Someone if There is No Lease? 

A reader asked the following question, which inspired this article:  

Question: My roommate and I are in Chicago and were on a lease from November 2017-December 2018 and texted our landlord about resigning the lease but she never showed up, however we have been paying rent up until now. We notified her at the end of July we were planning on moving out on September 1st, and she initially said we were on a lease so we could not, but when we explained that were never on a lease because she never came back to provide us with one, she then said our lease automatically renewed even though we never discussed this and was never on our initial lease. Does she have metaphorically have a leg to stand on? What exactly are our options? Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:  Your landlord does not have a leg to stand on.  Once your lease expired, it did not automatically renew.  If you have not already, you should provide your landlord with written 30 days notice of your intention to move out.  Once the 30 days has expired, you are free to move out.  

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