2016 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 765 - PROPERTY
765 ILCS 735/ - Rental Property Utility Service Act.
(765 ILCS 735/0.01) (from Ch. 80, par. 61)
Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Rental Property Utility Service Act.
(Source: P.A. 86-1324.)
(765 ILCS 735/1) (from Ch. 80, par. 62)
Sec. 1. Utility payments; termination and restoration of service. Whenever, pursuant to any agreement, either written or verbal, a landlord or his or her agent is required to pay for any water, gas or electrical service, the landlord shall pay for the services to ensure that the services are available to the tenant throughout the term of the lease and shall pay for the services in a timely manner so as not to cause an interruption of the services. If the landlord or his or her agent does not pay for such service, the tenant, or tenants in the event more than one tenant is served by a common system of water, gas or electrical service, including electrical service to common areas, which goes through a common meter in a single building, may either (i) terminate the lease; however, the termination of the lease under this Section does not absolve the landlord or tenant from any obligations that have arisen under the lease prior to its termination under this Section; or (ii) pay for such service if the nonpayment jeopardizes the continuation of the service to the tenant or tenants, as the case may be. The utility company shall not terminate service for such nonpayment until the utility company mails, delivers or posts a notice as specified in Section 3 to all tenants of buildings with 3 or more residential apartments. Upon receipt of such payment of the past due cost of such water, gas or electrical service owed by the landlord, the provider of such service shall immediately restore service to such tenant or tenants. In the alternative, the provider of such service shall immediately restore and continue such service to any tenant who (a) requests that the utility put the bill in his or her name; (b) establishes satisfactory credit references or provides for and pays a security deposit pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Illinois Commerce Commission applicable to applicants for new utility service; and (c) agrees to pay future bills. Any sums the tenant or tenants, as the case may be, pay for water, gas or electrical service that the landlord or his or her agent was required to pay may be deducted from the rent due by the tenant or tenants, and the total rent is diminished by the amount the tenant or tenants, as the case may be, have paid for the continuation of the water, gas or electrical service.
(Source: P.A. 93-994, eff. 1-1-05.)
(765 ILCS 735/1.1) (from Ch. 80, par. 62.1)
Sec. 1.1. Definitions. As used in this Act:
"Agreement" includes leases, oral agreements, and any other understandings or contracts reached between a landlord and a tenant.
"Individually metered utilities" means that the utility service to one or more rental dwelling units in a building is registered by an individual meter for each dwelling unit.
"Master metered utilities" means that the utility service to a building with one or more rental dwelling units is registered by a single meter for the building.
"Landlord" includes the owner of a building, the owner's agent, and the lessor of a building.
"Tenant" includes occupants of a building or mobile home, whether under a lease or periodic tenancy.
"Utility company" includes all suppliers of utility service, including municipalities.
"Utility service" includes electric, gas, water, or sanitary utility service rendered by a utility company to a tenant at a specific location.
(Source: P.A. 87-178.)
(765 ILCS 735/1.2) (from Ch. 80, par. 62.2)
Sec. 1.2. Certain tenant-paid utility payment arrangements prohibited; Notice of change in payment arrangement.
(a) No landlord shall rent or cause to be rented any unit in which the tenant is responsible by agreement, implication, or otherwise for direct payment for utility service to the utility company and in which the utility company billing for that service includes any service to common areas of the building or other units or areas used or occupied by persons other than the individual tenant and those occupying the unit with the tenant on the utility account, unless, before offering an initial lease or a renewal lease, accepting a security deposit, or otherwise entering into an agreement with the prospective tenant to let the premises:
(1) The landlord provides the prospective tenant with
a written statement setting forth the specific areas of the building and any appurtenances that are served by the meter that will be in the tenant's name and the nature of the utility uses of those areas, including any that have not been reflected in past utility company billings but that may arise (such as the rental of a neighboring unit that has been vacant, the installation of washers and driers in the basement, or the use of the garage for mechanics);
(2) The landlord provides the prospective tenant with
copies of the utility bills for the unit for the previous 12 months, unless waived by the tenant in writing;
(3) The landlord neither suggests nor requires the
tenant to collect any money for utility bills from neighboring tenants whose utility usage will be reflected in the prospective tenant's utility company billings; and
(4) The landlord sets forth in writing the amount of
the proposed rent reduction, if any, that is offered to compensate for the tenant's payments for utility usage outside of the tenant's unit.
(b) No landlord shall request or cause to be effected a change (i) from landlord-paid master metered utilities to tenant-paid individually metered utilities or (ii) from landlord-paid to tenant-paid utilities, regardless of the metering arrangement, during the term of a lease. The landlord shall provide a minimum of 30 days notice to each affected tenant before effecting such a change in service; for tenants under a lease, the notice shall be provided to the tenants no less than 30 days before the expiration of the lease term. This subsection does not prohibit the landlord and tenant from agreeing to amend the lease to effect such a change; the amendment must be in writing and subscribed by both parties.
(c) Any term or condition in a rental agreement between the landlord and the tenant that is inconsistent with this Section is void and unenforceable.
(d) Nothing in this Section affects the relationship between a utility company and its customers.
(Source: P.A. 87-178.)
(765 ILCS 735/1.3) (from Ch. 80, par. 62.3)
Sec. 1.3. Tenant remedies and burdens of proof.
(a) A residential tenant shall be entitled to recover damages from the landlord for the utility bills rendered in the tenant's name as a result of the landlord's violation of this Act and which the landlord has not paid to the utility company. The tenant shall have the burden of establishing that the tenant was billed for utility service as a result of the landlord's violation of this Act. Upon proof by the tenant that the tenant was billed an amount for service not attributable to the unit or premises occupied by the tenant, the landlord shall be liable to the tenant for 100% of those utility bills. However, this sum shall be reduced by whatever percentage of use that the court finds that the landlord has established to have been attributable to the unit or premises the tenant occupied during the period that the violation continued. The tenant may recover these damages by an action at law or by a counterclaim in any action brought by the landlord against the tenant. The court may treble the damage award when the court finds that the landlord's violation of this Act was knowing or intentional. The tenant may also recover costs and fees, including attorneys fees, if the amount awarded by the court for utility service is in excess of $3,000. The remedies contained in this Act do not limit or supersede any remedies the tenant may have under a lease, contract, or the laws, including the common law, of this State.
(b) This Section shall be prospective in application; the remedies shall not attach to any violation that occurred before July 1, 1992.
(c) Nothing in this Section affects the relationship between a utility company and its customers.
(Source: P.A. 87-178; 87-895.)
(765 ILCS 735/1.4) (from Ch. 80, par. 62.4)
Sec. 1.4. Prohibition on termination of utility service by landlord. No landlord shall cause or request utility service to tenants to be interrupted, discontinued, or terminated in an occupied building (i) by nonpayment of utility bills for which the landlord has assumed responsibility by agreement or by implication (such as where the utilities are master metered) or (ii) by tampering with equipment or lines. This Section does not prohibit temporary utility shutoffs in cases of emergencies such as gas leaks or fire or, upon 7 days written notice to each affected tenant, temporary shutoffs required for building repairs or rehabilitation.
(Source: P.A. 87-177; 87-895.)
(765 ILCS 735/2) (from Ch. 80, par. 63)
Sec. 2. Receivership; utility service termination.
(a) Tenants, upon receiving notice of utility service termination pursuant to Section 1, and utility companies may petition the circuit court, or any court having jurisdiction, for appointment of a receiver of rents due for use and occupancy of the building. No one building may be the subject of more than 2 such petitions in any consecutive 12 month period. The petition shall be served upon the landlord at his or her last known address and upon the utility company which has rendered notice of termination of utility service, except when the utility company is the petitioner. Upon a finding that the tenants' utility service is subject to termination or has been terminated as a result of an amount due and owing by the landlord to the utility company, the court shall appoint a receiver who shall be authorized to collect rents due from the tenants for use and occupancy of the building. The court shall also design a payment plan through which the receiver shall be required to remit to the utility company such portion of the funds as are necessary for payment of current utility bills incurred during the term of the receivership, including any security deposit requested by the utility in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Illinois Commerce Commission. The receiver shall remit the remainder of the collected rents as the court shall direct, taking into consideration the ordinary and necessary expenses of the property including, but not limited to, repair, maintenance, other utility bills, property taxes, arrearages which were the subject of the petition, and any capital expenditures deemed necessary by the court. The landlord or his or her agent shall be liable for arrearages due to the utility company which the court in its payment plan determines cannot feasibly be remitted by the receiver from the collected rents within 12 months.
(b) Within 10 days of the appointment of the receiver, during which time the utility company shall not discontinue service to the building for reason of nonpayment, such receiver shall make a determination as to whether or not the rents due for the use and occupancy of the building can reasonably be expected to be sufficient to pay current bills and to pay any security deposit which may be requested by the utility. Upon a determination by the court that the rents due for the use and occupancy of the building cannot reasonably be expected to be sufficient to pay current bills and to pay any security deposit which may be requested by the utility, such receivership shall be terminated.
(c) In the event that a petition for receivership is filed after utility service has been terminated, service shall be restored as soon as the utility company receives notice that a receiver has been appointed. The receiver shall make all reasonable efforts to provide to the utility access to the building at all times.
(d) Any receivership established pursuant to this Section shall be terminated by the court upon its finding that the arrearage which was the subject of the petition has been satisfied or upon its finding that the income from the building has become insufficient to pay current utility bills and retire the arrearages as ordered by the court and shows no reasonable likelihood of becoming sufficient.
(Source: P.A. 87-177.)
(765 ILCS 735/2.1) (from Ch. 80, par. 63.1)
Sec. 2.1. Tenant damages.
(a) A landlord's violation of Section 1.4 entitles the residential tenant to damages from the landlord in the amount of a 100% abatement of the rental obligation for each month, and prorated for each part of a month, that the utility service was terminated and to consequential damages. The tenant has a duty to mitigate damages.
(b) When utility service is terminated as a result of the landlord's violation of Section 1.4 under circumstances demonstrating the landlord's deliberate or reckless indifference or wilful disregard for the rights of the tenants, or bad faith, the court may additionally award each affected residential tenant in the building statutory damages up to $300 each or the sum of $5,000 divided by the number of affected tenants, whichever is less.
(Source: P.A. 87-177; 87-895.)
(765 ILCS 735/2.2) (from Ch. 80, par. 63.2)
Sec. 2.2. Recovery of damages; costs and fees. In the case of a petition filed on or after July 1, 1992, where termination of utility service is averted as a result of action taken by the utility company or tenant or tenants under Section 2, the petitioner is entitled to recover its costs (including court costs), fees (including attorney's fees), and expenses incurred in connection with bringing the receivership proceeding. The costs, fees, and expenses, and damages recoverable under Section 2.1, may be awarded by the court in the receivership proceeding. The sum awarded by the court to the utility company shall be paid by the receiver to the utility company out of the rents paid to the receiver.
(Source: P.A. 87-177.)
(765 ILCS 735/3) (from Ch. 80, par. 64)
Sec. 3. Notice of utility service termination. The utility company shall notify all tenants of buildings with 3 or more residential apartments of the proposed termination of utility service. This notice shall contain the following information: (1) the specific date, no sooner than 10 days after the notice is rendered, that utility service is subject to termination; (2) a statement of the tenants' statutory right either (A) to pay the utility company the amount due and owing by the landlord and to deduct the amount paid to the utility company from the rent due on the rental agreement or (B) to petition the court for appointment of a receiver to collect the rents due for use and occupancy of the building and remit a portion to the utility company for payment of utility bills; (3) the dollar amount of the utility bills due and owing on the date such notice is given and the average monthly utility bill; and (4) the name and telephone number of any legal services agency within the utility company's service area where the tenants may obtain free legal assistance. Any notice provided to tenants of a building under this Act shall be of a conspicuous size, on red paper, and in at least 14 point bold face type, except that the words "notice of (utility service) termination" shall be in 36 point bold face type if the notice is posted, and shall state:
It is unlawful for the landlord or his or her agent
to alter, deface, tamper with, or remove this notice. A landlord or his or her agent who violates this provision is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.
(Source: P.A. 87-177.)
(765 ILCS 735/4) (from Ch. 80, par. 65)
Sec. 4. The lessor, landlord or his agent shall not increase rent paid by the lessees or tenants of the building in order to collect all or part of the amount lawfully deducted for utility service pursuant to this Act.
(Source: P.A. 80-1453.)
(765 ILCS 735/5) (from Ch. 80, par. 66)
Sec. 5. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent a utility company from pursuing any other action or remedy that it may have against the lessor, landlord or his agent for any amounts due and owing to the utility company and nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent a utility company from acting in the interest of public safety.
(Source: P.A. 80-1453.)
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