Landlord Eviction Process in Illinois: A Comprehensive Guide
The eviction process in Illinois is straightforward for landlords who understand the operational laws in the counties where they reside. There are clear stipulations on the grounds of evicting a tenant. For example, when a tenant violates the lease agreement, the landlord may file an eviction notice.
If the tenant doesn’t comply on expiry of the eviction notice, the landlord must file a complaint with the circuit court on official forms. The judge would then issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord or agree with the tenant’s argument. Either way, only a judge can execute an Illinois eviction.
But what should a landlord know before commencing the eviction process? This article explains everything concerning the Illinois law concerning eviction in greater detail. Keep reading.
Reasons to Evict a Tenant in Illinois
There are many reasons why a landlord may commence the eviction process against a tenant in Illinois. Each of these reasons require the issuance of a written notice giving the tenant a grace period to either comply or quit.
Here are the main reasons why a landlord may want to evict a tenant:
1. Failure to Pay Rent Within Set Deadlines
Paying rent by due date is one of the requirements in a typical lease agreement. Of course, the lease or rental agreement may contain a grace period beyond which the landlord would file a notice to quit the rental unit.
Where there is failure to pay, the landlord must give the tenant a 5-day notice to pay or quit. If the tenant pays within five days, the landlord cannot file a complaint at the court.
However, if the tenant fails to pay, the landlord has every right to file for eviction. In that case, the court will serve the tenant with a summons and complaint to help them prepare the defense.
2. Lease Violations
The lease or rental agreement governs the landlord/tenant relationship. Therefore, both parties must uphold its provisions for the entire period of the lease.
Each agreement could have different provisions based on the individual landlord and tenant. Lease violations in Illinois require the tenant to issue a 10-day notice to comply or quit.
If the tenant complies within 10 days, the eviction process stops there. Common lease violations include the following:
Smoking on a no-smoking property
Damage to the property
Breaking pet-free regulations
On the other hand, if there is failure to resolve the violations and the tenant remain on the premises, the proceed to remove them.
3. Carrying Out Illegal Activity on the Rental Unit
A tenant who engages in illegal activity violates the lease or rental agreement. In that case, the landlord must issue a 5-day notice to quit.
The Illinois law on property lease and rental stipulates illegal activities to include the following:
Handling controlled substances
Also, a felony arrest due to involvement in any of the following could also attract an eviction notice:
4. Foreclosure of Rental Property
When there is a foreclosure of the rental property, the landlord must give the tenant proper notice to vacate within 90 days. There is no option for renewing the lease.
Therefore, the tenant must quit the premises before the notice to move expires. If the tenant doesn’t move before the end of the notice period, the landlord may file a complaint in the court.
5. Failure to Renew the Lease on Its Expiry
In Illinois, the landlord/tenant relationship is expected to continue to the end of the lease period. Evicting a tenant is only possible where there is clear violation of the lease or rental agreement.
However, the tenant should plan to renew the lease agreement before it expires. Failure to do so means they cannot stay for an extra day.
The landlord would have no choice but to issue a notice to move. There could be different notices, including the following:
7-day notice to quit
30-day notice to quit
60-day notice to quit
It is important to understand the eviction laws in Illinois. However, landlords also need insurance products to protect them against certain risks such as extensive damage to property.
Reasons Landlords Cannot Evict Tenants in Illinois
There are instances when evicting a tenant might not work. They include the following:
1. Self-Help Eviction
It is wrong for the landlord to engage in self-help eviction. According to Illinois law, a landlord cannot evict a tenant by:
Removing tenant property
2. Retaliatory Eviction
Also, the landlord is not allowed to evict a tenant who was only exercising a right protected by the law. Such rights include the following:
A complaint to the authorities with regard to violation of the health or building code
A request for repairs to make the premises more habitable
Even as you learn about the reasons not to evict tenants, you need to understand the benefits of having reliable landlord insurance.
Types of Eviction Notices in Illinois
Eviction notices are of different types in Illinois. The difference among these notices is the number of days and the purpose for filing it. In each case, a landlord files a proper notice in any of the following ways:
1. 5-Day Notice to Quit
It a tenant is unable or refuses to pay rent, the landlord may file a 5-day notice. Within the 5-day notice period, the tenant can arrange to pay the rent. If the tenant refuses to pay rent within that period, the landlord has every right to evict them. In that case, the tenant will commence the eviction proceedings.
2. 10-Day Notice to Vacate
According to Illinois law, a tenant’s failure to comply with the terms of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord may issue a 10-day notice to vacate. Thus, the tenant has ten days to quit the premises. They have no opportunity to fix the issue at hand.
3. 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate
There’s a reprieve for tenants that commit minor violation of a rental agreement. The landlord may serve a 10-day notice to allow them time to remedy the situation or vacate if they can’t. After the 10-day notice period, the landlord may commence eviction proceedings.
4. 5-Day Notice to Vacate
If a tenant is involved in a felony arrest due to illegal activities, the landlord may issue a 5-day notice to vacate. That too applies to situations where the tenant extensively damages the property. The tenant has five days to either comply or move out of the house.
5. 14-Day Notice to Comply
This type of eviction notice is issued after a tenant slightly damages the property or violates health and safety standards. It gives the tenant 14 days to either fix the issue or vacate the property. If the tenant does neither, the landlord may launch an eviction lawsuit.
6. 30-Day Notice to Vacate
Some tenants might have no written lease. Others could have a month-to-month lease. In both cases, the landlord serves the tenant proper notice to move in 30 days. However, the notice period largely depends on the frequency of rent payment as shown here:
7 days for a week-to-week lease
30 days for a month-to-month lease
30 days you a quarter-to-quarter lease
60 days for a year-to-year lease
How to Deliver Termination Notices in Illinois
According to the eviction process in Illinois, a landlord must serve notice to a tenant before filing for eviction in court. The landlord needs to download the Illinois eviction notice, fill it out, and present it to the tenant.
The methods of proper service to a tenant include the following:
Personal Service: A professional process server takes the documents to the tenant in person
Mailing: Service via certified or registered mail
Substituted Service: A tenant’s relative above 13 years of age receives the documents on their behalf
Posting: The documents are posted in a visible place in the entrance of the tenant’s rented property
The eviction process takes several steps beginning with the landlord serving an eviction notice. Here is an outline of the steps in the eviction process:
Step 1: Serving Notice to the Tenant
As a first step in the eviction process, the landlord must prepare and serve the tenant with a written notice. The notice could be delivered in any of the ways outlined above. If the case moves to court, the landlord will need to provide the original signed notice and a declaration of service.
Step 2: Filing an Eviction Lawsuit in Court
Whether in Cook County or any other parts of Illinois, the landlord must file an eviction case in a circuit court. The filing fee varies from county to county. To effectively file a complaint, the tenant must attach the rental agreement, affidavits or service, and the eviction notice.
The landlord must serve the summons and complaint on the tenant through a professional process server, sheriff, or a third party who is above 18 years old. In Cook County, the service of summons should be seven days before the hearing. Elsewhere, it is 3 days.
Step 3: Serving the Tenant with Summons and Complaint
Legal action in the eviction process in Illinois commences 7 to 40 days after the court issues summons. Tenants do not have to reply to the application before the court date.
However, the tenant should appear at the hearing. Otherwise, the court would issue an eviction order in favor of the landlord.
But the eviction process isn’t over yet since the tenant may apply for vacation of the default judgment. It should be 30 days after the judgment. The tenant will argue against the judgment to convince the judge to vacate it.
Step 4: Hearing and Issuance of Judgment
There will be a hearing within 14 days of filing a complaint. If the tenant doesn’t contest the eviction, the landlord must bring the following:
A written lease agreement
Summons and complaint
Notice to comply or quit
Evidence of service of the summons and complaint
Any evidence proving the case
The judge considers the evidence and issues an eviction order if satisfied with the landlord’s case. Now the landlord can legally evict the tenant.
Step 5: Issuance of Eviction Order
With an eviction order, the tenant must leave the rental unit. They may remove their personal property before an enforcing agency comes for them. The eviction order is served within seven days after the hearing.
Step 6: Enforcing the Eviction Order
A tenant’s failure to vacate the property may require enforcement by a sheriff. That’s especially true where the tenant is involved in an illegal activity. The eviction order is executed within seven days after expiry of a stay of execution.
In Illinois, the eviction process begins with the landlord giving notice to move. Reasons for that could be a tenant’s failure to pay, illegal activity, or lease violations. If the tenant doesn’t comply with the notice, the landlord may file eviction proceedings. Once a court issues an eviction order, the tenant has no option but to leave the rental unit.
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