Eviction 101 (Illinois)

Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer

The Landlord and Tenant relationship is a mix between Contract and Property law. The eviction process can be a difficult process for both parties each have their own rights and responsibilities under state and local rules to ensure they are not violating the others rights. This post covers the procedure rules in the eviction process. 

The Illinois eviction process is broken down into five distinct although all five steps may not necessarily occur for a Tenant to lose their right to possess the premises. They are as follows:

  1. Tenant must be delinquent in rent;
  2. Landlord must notify Tenant, in writing, that the rent must be paid within no less than five days;
  3. Time period on notice of delinquent rent must pass without payment by Tenant;
  4. Landlord must sue for possession or maintain ejectment and obtain judgement for possession;
  5. Writ of possession is issued pursuant to judgment for possession.

Robinson v. Chicago Hous. Auth., 54 F.3d 316 (7th Cir. 1995) (a concise description of the process to evict for non-payment of rent).

As stated above the first step is the Tenant must be in violation of the lease. The most common violation is Tenant is delinquent in paying rent. However, this may include the Tenant being a danger to health and safety or involved in criminal activity on the premises. 

Notices

At this point the Landlord may serve a written Notice to Terminate Tenancy, demanding all rents paid or cease of activity. The written notice must give the Tenant no less than 5 days to comply. Notice may be 5, 10, or 30 day notices. 

Each notice has different requirements. Therefore, a Landlord will have to choose which of the following notices is best for the situation. Click on each heading to see an example for the notice.

5-Day Notice (Non-Payment of Rent)

If the Tenant doesn’t pay the rent on time, the Landlord may give the Tenant a 5-Day written notice. The notice must include: Date of notice, address of property and unit number (if any), date lease will end, amount owed, and that state Tenant has 5 days to pay in full.

If the Tenant pays within the 5 days, the Landlord must take the money. However, if the Tenant does not pay the rent within those 5 days, the Landlord can file an eviction case. Dependent on the city where the premises is located, payment made after the 5-Days, permits the landlord to choose whether accept payment or continue with lawsuit. In Chicago, the Tenant can even pay the rent after the 5 days is up and stay in the unit, as long as the landlord accepts the rent. However, if the landlord does accept rent, then the eviction case must be dropped. 

The notice should say “ONLY FULL PAYMENT of rent demanded in this notice will waive the Landlord’s right to terminate the lease under this notice, unless the Landlord agrees in writing to continue the lease in exchange for receiving partial payment.” If the notice does not include this language the Tenant may pay part of the rent within the 5 days and stay on the premises. 

10-Day Notice (Lease violation)

If the tenant breaks an agreed upon rule within the lease, the Landlord may serve the tenant with a 10-day written notice. A 10-Day notice must include: date of notice, address of property and unit number (if any), date lease will end, and the rule in the lease that was broken. Typical violations are committing a criminal activity on the premises or having pets where lease says no pets are allowed. Once the Landlord serves the tenant with the 10-day notice, the Tenant is required to move out within 10 days. Depending on the city, if the Tenant fails to move out the landlord may bring an eviction suit at the end of the 10 days. In Chicago, if the Tenant fixes the problem within 10 days, they may stay in the unit. 

30-Day Notice (Month-to-Month Lease or Non-Renewal of Yearly Lease)

With month-to-month lease, the Landlord can end it by serving a notice to the Tenant without giving any reason. A 30-Day notice must include: date of notice, address of property and unit number (if any), and date lease will end. 

If the Landlord accepts rent after serving the notice, they must serve a new notice to end the lease. 

After Notice Expiration

If the Tenant fails to comply with this written notice then the Landlord is free to file a forcible entry and detainer suit to regain possession of the premises. These lawsuits are governed by the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (735 ILCS 5/9-101). 

Landlord Tenant disputes can easily become complicated as Landlords are faced with questions such as: “Where do I file the lawsuit?”; “When is it legal to file the lawsuit?”; “What needs to be included in the lawsuit?”; “What kind of damages can I request?”; “What if the Tenant defends against the lawsuit?”’ and “How to enforce an order of possession?”

Our Attorneys are here to make this process easier for you. Our experienced Attorneys will handle the eviction case from start to finish allowing you to focus on other areas of your business. We will not only provide legal representation, but help guide you through any difficulties you may have. Our Attorneys know your assets are important to you and taking time away to appear in court can be very costly to your business. We pride ourselves in making the eviction process as smooth as possible for you. In most cases, your appearance is not required. There are many pitfalls that may derail a Landlord in an eviction case. Let our Attorneys handle every step for you. 

From filing the lawsuit to serving the order of possession on the Tenant, our Attorneys will make sure you regain possession of your property without incurring more cost and time.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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