There are six steps to leasing a home:

Step 1. Defining Your Requirements

Step 2. Searching for Properties

Step 3. Finding Your Ideal Property

Step 4. Submit Your Lease Offer or Apartment Application

  • Once you’ve found your ideal property, you’ll need to submit a lease offer for houses/duplexes/ condos or rental application for apartments. Credit and background checks will likely be completed during this part of the process.

Step 5. Sign Your Lease

  •  You’ll need to pay any necessary deposits and often the first month’s rent. When everything is signed and the deal is done, file a copy of your lease somewhere safe to refer to later. Bring checks, you’ll typically need to put down your deposit and first month’s rent when you sign your lease.

Step 6. Walk-Through and Move-In

  • Submit the appropriate form so your landlord will make any immediate repairs necessary and so that you will not be held responsible for any major flaws upon move out.


Requirements for leasing a house:

Credit Check: A review of your credit report may be required to rent a house. Applicants who pay their creditors on time may receive favorable rental decisions from property owners. However, a recent pattern of late payments could impact your ability to secure a rental approval. Property owners frequently check for unpaid judgments from previous apartment communities or management companies. Paying your bills on time could enhance your ability to rent a house.

Rental Reference: Typically, applicants are required to provide rental references on their application. Prior landlords generally are contacted to discuss the applicant’s previous rental history. Information about the duration of your rental history, the amount of your monthly rent, and timeliness of your rental payments might be obtained.

Security Deposit: Property owners often require a security deposit to rent a house. A security deposit may be used toward property damages, unpaid rent or late fees. Security deposits are held from the start through the conclusion of a rental period. Typically, a security deposit will be equal to one monthly rental payment. However, the required deposit may depend on your credit strength or the property management policies.

Background Check: A background check may be required before you can rent a house. Property owners may check an applicant’s criminal history or employment history prior to approving a rental application. If an applicant has a history of violent or destructive behavior, a property manager may decline the rental request.

Lease: Property owners often require a signed lease to rent a house. A lease will reflect the amount and the due date of your rent. You must review the terms of a rental lease carefully before making a commitment. Certain lease agreements may require the names of adult occupants or limit the number of people who may reside within the property. A lease agreement may prohibit pets within the property, or you may be required to place additional deposits. You may need to obtain legal advice for terms that you do not understand.

Considerations: With renting a house, if utilities are not included, an applicant may need additional deposits for various service providers. Proof of income may be required to demonstrate your ability to afford certain rental properties. Potential renters should inquire about general maintenance, such as lawn care or snow removal. Ask your landlord whether you are responsible for exterior cleaning or routine maintenance. Before signing a lease, prospective tenants must understand the rental terms.

What is a lease?

A lease is an agreement to rent between the owner of the property (known as the landlord) and the person renting the property (known as the tenant)

Leases can be written or oral:

  • Oral lease: The landlord and tenant make an agreement, but do not write it down. An oral lease is usually month-to-month so the lease renews every month unless the landlord or tenant choose to end it. This type of lease can end with 30 days notice; and
  • Written lease: It is better to have a written lease stating the agreement between the landlord and tenant. The lease should state the following details:
  • Rent amount, and how it should be paid
  • Date of the agreement
  • How long the lease will last
  • How to renew the lease
  • Amount of security deposit or move-in fee
  • Fees for late rent
  • How the lease should end
  • Who is responsible for repairs
  • When the landlord can enter the apartment
  • Contact information for the landlord
  • Any other promises made by the landlord or tenant.

Looking for a house:

Typically, when a tenant moves out of a rental, the utilities stay on and transfer back to the landlord’s name. When you move in, the lights will probably turn on, but your landlord will be footing the bill. If your lease doesn’t cover utilities, you will have to have each one put in your name. Discuss with your landlord which utilities aren’t covered and call the utility companies to make the switch.

To rent a house, a person must have rental credit. When renting the house with no credit:

Find a guarantor or co-signer. This is both the easiest and most complicated approach: Ask a parent, trusted friend, or relative with good credit to co-sign the rental application with you. In theory, it’s an easy solution, because while you’ll be the only one living in the apartment, your co-signer agrees to cover the payments in the event that you default on your rent. This can provide a landlord the extra reassurance they need. Of course, it’s complicated because someone else is on the hook for your behavior. You don’t actually want your co-signer to be forced to make payments for you, so be sure the monthly rent is an amount you can afford comfortably. Be realistic about what might happen to your relationship with your co-signer if you default on the lease.

If renting an apartment:

Landlords ask people to fill out a rental application form and pay an application fee when applying for an apartment. This form asks for general information from the tenant and the family. The information includes people’s’ rental, employment, credit, and criminal histories

If you’re leasing an apartment, you’ll typically need the following for your application: picture identification, your social security number, your three most recent monthly paystubs, information about yourself and your rental history. You may also be required to pay a non-refundable rental application fee (typically less than $50) at this time.

What a landlord must provide notice for:

  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: 60 days
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: 30 days
  • Notice to Terminate a Lease – Week-to-week: 7 days http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=073500050HArt%2E+IX&ActID=2017&ChapterID=56&SeqStart=65800000&SeqEnd=73500000
  • Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
  • Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 5 days to pay or move-out.
  • Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 10 days
  • Required Notice before Entry: No statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No