WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Illinois

Housing Laws

April 27, 2018

If I want to stay in my apartment, can I get my locks changed?

If you choose not to leave your apartment, you may be able to get your locks changed (at your expense) by your landlord in certain circumstances. If you have a written lease and there is a credible imminent threat of domestic or sexual violence against you or a member of your household at the premises from someone who is not a tenant in the same unit, then you can request that your landlord change your locks if:

  1. you provide written notice from all tenants requesting that the locks be changed because one of the tenants or a member of the tenant’s household is under a credible imminent threat of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, or stalking; and
  2. the notice is accompanied by proof to support a claim of domestic or sexual violence, which can be medical, court, or police evidence; or a statement from a domestic violence or rape crisis organization where the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household sought services.*

If the credible imminent threat of domestic or sexual violence is from someone who is a tenant in the same unit or if you do not have a written lease, then instead of providing the proof listed in #2 above, the proof you provide with the written notice must be a copy of a plenary order of protection or a plenary civil no contact order that specifically grants you exclusive possession of the premises.**

* 765 ILCS 750/20(a)(1)
** 765 ILCS 750/20(a)(1),(2)

How long does my landlord have to change my locks?

After you have provided proper notice to your landlord, your landlord must change the locks in two days or give you permission to change them. If your landlord does not change the locks or give you permission within 48 hours, then you are allowed to change your locks without your landlord’s permission. If you change your own locks, you must make a good faith effort to give your landlord a copy of the new key.*

* 765 ILCS 750/20(b)