Tenant & Housing Information


Before You Move In

Don't rush in.

  • There is no shortage of rental units in Champaign-Urbana; the market has never been better for tenants to make choices.
  • Beware of unfinished buildings; they may or may not be ready for occupancy when the lease begins.
  • Roommates who commit too early to a lease may not follow through – things change as time goes by.

Get it in writing.

  • The lease is the agreement between you and your landlord.
  • Promises made to you before you sign must be in the lease in order to be enforceable.
  • Review the lease carefully before signing it, on your own or with Off-Campus Community Living.

See the actual house/apartment that you will be renting.

  • Do not settle for seeing a “model” unit.
  • Make a thorough inspection of the space you will be renting.

Choose roommates carefully.

  • Do you really know this person?
  • Is this person financially sound?
  • Is this person likely to stay in school for the entire term of the lease?
  • Does this person’s lifestyle agree with yours?

Beware of discrimination.

  • It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, handicap, sexual preference, familial status, welfare status or student status.
  • Complaints can be made to:
    • Urbana Human Relations Commission
      400 South Vine St., Urbana, IL 61801
    • Champaign Community Relations
      102 North Neil St., Champaign, IL 61820
    • Illinois Department of Human Rights
      • 222 South College, Room 101, Intake Unit, Springfield, IL 62704
      • 100 West Randolph St., 10th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601

A lease is a binding contract.

  • Once you sign, you are responsible to fulfill its terms, especially payment of the rent.
  • This is true whether or not your landlord or your other roommates have signed the lease.
  • Be sure before you sign.

After You Move In

Check In Condition Report

Document apartment or house condition.

  • Landlord may provide check-in sheet.
  • Off-Campus Community Living has model check-in sheets.
  • Take photos or a video.
  • Do these immediately upon move-in.
  • Be meticulous! Be thorough! Protect your damage deposit from pre-existing conditions.
  • Keep a copy of check-in sheets, photos, videos.

Property Maintenance Issues

  • Report needed repairs promptly.
  • Your landlord should attend to emergencies promptly.
  • Cosmetic maintenance may require some time – be patient!
  • City building inspectors will assist with building code compliance.
    • Champaign: 217-403-7070
    • Urbana: 217-384-2443

Landlord's Right to Enter

  • In Champaign, as in most of the State of Illinois, your landlord can come to your apartment or house at any time, unless access is restricted in the lease.
  • In Urbana, there are rules restricting your landlord’s ability to come into your home except in the case of emergencies.

Getting Along with Neighbors

  • Campus living is noisy and congested.
  • Be a good neighbor.
    • Notify others in your building of any major party plans to see if there may be problems.
    • Keep your noise level under control, especially in the evening, over night, and early in the morning.
    • Check your lease for any noise restrictions it may impose.
  • If your neighbors are problem-makers:
    • First, talk to them about it; most people are willing to accommodate other is they know what is expected of them.
    • Next, talk to your landlord if step one fails.
    • Finally, as a last resort, you can call the police, who will come and issue tickets to the offenders.


  • Always check your lease; there are usually terms and conditions surrounding the issue of subletting.
  • Your subtenant does not relieve you of liability under the lease; you remain responsible for payment of rent and repair of damage to the unit.
  • Conduct a walk-through of the unit with your subtenant prior to turning it over to him or her; this will establish what damage, if any, was caused by whom.
  • Be sure that any utilities in your name have been transferred to your subtenant. You don’t want to be stuck with their charges.
  • Be careful selecting a subtenant. They can cost more in damage to the place than any savings in rent that you may see.
  • Always get your sublet agreement in writing. This may also include the need to get the approval of your landlord – check the lease.

At the End of Your Lease

Protect Your Security Deposit

  • Clean your unit
    • Leave it spotless.
    • Remove any and all items that do not belong there.
    • Leave furnishings in an orderly manner.
    • Thoroughly clean carpets. Make sure carpets are clean. Rent carpet cleaning equipment or hire a company, if necessary, and keep the receipts.
  • Pay special attention to:
    • The kitchen – stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, microwave, countertop, cupboards, floor.
    • The bathroom(s) – cabinet, sink, tub/shower, toilet, floor (especially around toilet).
    • Walls, windows, sills, baseboards.
  • Document your work.
    • Take detailed photographs of the unit, including inside the oven and refrigerator.
  • Leave the unit looking better than you found it.
  • Leave a forwarding address with your landlord to send your deposit to you.

Security Deposit Laws

  • Champaign
    • Apartment complexes with 5 units or more require specific procedures for return of deposits and accounting for deductions.
    • Apartment complexes with 20 units or more must pay interest on the deposits.
  • Urbana
    • Most rental units must follow specific return and deduction procedures, as well as pay interest on the deposit.
  • Rental units not covered by these laws must return deposits within a reasonable time.

Not satisfied with the amount returned?

  • Do not cash or deposit the check.
  • Gather up your check-in sheets, check-out sheets, pictures, and/or videos of check-in and check-out, and ...
  • Get a consultation appointment with Student Legal Services as soon as possible.
    • Go to Schedule an Appointment
    • Fill out and submit the “Housing or Damage Deposit” intake form
    • Go to the SLS office, 324 Illini Union, to select a consultation appointment day/time.