Northern Illinois University students (plaintiffs) were residents at University Plaza (defendant), a privately owned dormitory. The students each signed a residence-hall contract agreement. This agreement held, in part, that University Plaza reserved the right to make assignments of rooms, authorize or deny room and roommate changes, and require the residents to move from one room to another. The students sued University Plaza over an issue regarding their security deposits. The students relied on a state statute governing landlord-tenant relationships. University Plaza argued that the statute was not applicable, because the landlord-tenant relationship did not exist under the contracts signed by the students. The contract itself stated “that it is not the intention of the parties hereto to create a landlord-tenant relationship.” The trial court sided with University Plaza, finding there was no landlord-tenant relationship. The students appealed.