Change Locks after Tenant Moves Out

In this guide, you'll learn why changing the locks after a Tenant moves out is a good idea.

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Why To Change Locks or Let Tenant Change
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What Happens if You Don't Change Locks


Illinois Landlords must change or re-key locks after a Tenant moves out unless:

Lease terms.  The written lease gives the Tenant a right to change or re-key the locks;
Four units or less.  The unit is in an apartment building with 4 units or less when one of the units is occupied by the owner;
Owner occupied.  The units is a room in a private home that is owner-occupied; or
Population 3,000,000 or less.   If the unit is in a county with a population of 3,000,000 or less.

Why you should change locks or let Tenants

Even if an exception applies, changing locks after a Tenant moves out it a good idea (or giving the Tenant the ability to change in the lease).  If the Tenant has the option, then you're avoiding a lot of liability and risk.  If you give the Tenant an option to change the locks, make sure you get a copy of the keys.  This term must be in your lease ( better yet, use ours).

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What if I don't change the locks?

If you were required to change the locks - or failed to give the Tenant a right to change the locks - and a theft occurs at the unit, you may be liable for damages caused to the Tenant.


Who pays to change the locks?  You can charge a fee for the expense of changing the locks.  If you do, make sure the amount does not exceed the reasonable price customarily charged for changing locks.


Landlord & Tenant Act - 765 ILCS 705/15

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This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion on any specific case and/or circumstance.  This article does not create an attorney/client relationship.  No guarantee for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should be based solely on advertisements.