Illinois has enacted a new amendment to its Landlord and Tenant Act that will go into enforcement on January 1, 2012.

Illinois Public Act 97-470 calls for landlords in counties with populations of three million or more to “change or re-key” locks on rental property after renters move out if new renters have written lease agreements, and must provide a new tenant with a signed disclosure form acknowledging that this requirement has been met. Landlords who fail to do so are liable for any damages from theft that occurs as a result of that failure.

Texas already has a similar law and other states are expected to follow with their own distinct regulations requiring landlords to change the way residents gain access to apartments following the departure of previous residents.

Amendments to the bill state that “these provisions do not apply to an apartment rental in an apartment building with 4 units or less when one of the units is occupied by the owner or to the rental of a room in a private home that is owner-occupied;” and that the amendment only applies “in counties having a population of more than 3,000,000.”

For more details, see Illinois HB1233, House Public Act 97-0470.