A Guide to the Eviction Process in Chicago, Illinois
The Illinois Residential Landlord & Tenant Act gives landlords certain rights. Among this Illinois law is the right to evict a tenant from your rental property and terminate the lease for certain legally justified reasons, such as nonpayment of rent, rental damage, and lease or rental agreement violations.
That said, the law also requires each landlord to follow the proper eviction process when removing a tenant. A landlord must not engage in illegal eviction methods, such as locking out the tenant or throwing out their personal belongings, which could result in an eviction lawsuit.
Evictions can be stressful for landlords and residents. It's important, as a landlord, to be familiar with the Illinois eviction laws to make this process as smooth as possible.
The following is everything you need to know when evicting a tenant in the state of Illinois.
(Please note that some local governments have different rules. This includes Chicago, Oak Park, Evanson, Urbana, DeKalb, Mount Prospect, and Suburban Cook County. Please make sure to check the local ordinances if your rental is located in one of these jurisdictions.)
What’s the Eviction Process in Illinois?
The following is the step-by-step eviction proceedings that a landlord must follow when evicting a tenant and how to handle if a tenant violates your agreement.
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
A landlord must have a just cause in order to evict a tenant from their rental. A landlord can evict a tenant for the following reasons.
- Not paying rent when it is due.
- Failure to move out at the end of the lease term.
- Any lease violation.
- Causing damage to the property.
- Engaging in illegal activity.
The landlord must give the tenant notice to terminate the tenancy and begin the eviction. The purpose of this is for the landlord to notify the tenant of the reason and what they must do within the notice period. Below are the eviction notices landlords must use when evicting a tenant.
- 5-Day Notice to Quit. The landlord must serve the tenant this written notice when trying to evict them for nonpayment of rent. This will give the tenant up to 5 calendar days to either pay the rent due or vacate their rented premises.
- 30-Day Notice to Vacate. The landlord must serve this to a tenant on a month-to-month lease whom you no longer want to continue renting to. This will give the tenant up to 30 calendar days to move out. For residents that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice to serve will depend on the rent payment frequency. For instance, for tenants that pay rent every week, you must serve them a 7 days’ notice.
- 10-Day Notice to Vacate. The landlord must serve this notice period to a tenant whom you’re looking to evict for committing a minor lease violation. This will give the tenant up to 10 calendar days to move out. The tenant won’t have an opportunity to remedy the wrong-doing for eviction.
- 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This only applies to tenants in Chicago. If a tenant commits a minor lease violation, you must serve them a 10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate. This written notice will give the tenant up to 10 calendar days to remedy the issue or move out.
- 5-Day Notice to Vacate. The landlord must use this notice to kickstart the eviction process against a tenant who has caused illegal activity. The notice will give the tenant up to 5 calendar days to move out. The tenant doesn’t have an opportunity to remedy the issue.
The landlord can move to court and begin filing an eviction lawsuit if the tenant refuses to leave or fix the issue (if possible) after the notice has expired.
Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice
The state specifies how a landlord must serve an eviction notice to a tenant. The landlord must deliver it in any of the following ways.
- Serve the eviction notice in person.
- Serve a copy of the notice to someone of at least 13 years old. You must also mail another copy to the tenant via certified or registered mail.
- Post a notice on the entry door or any other conspicuous place. You must also mail another copy to the tenant via certified or registered mail.
Tenant Eviction Defenses
In Illinois, tenants aren’t required to file a formal answer or eviction complaint with the court before the eviction hearing. They can do so at the eviction case hearing itself. The following are examples of legal defenses they can give to stop or delay their removal.
- They were paying rent to the landlord in accordance with the rental agreement.
- The eviction process is based on the tenant’s race, color, sex, or nationality. This would be against the Federal Fair Housing Act.
- The eviction process is a retaliatory action from the landlord.
- The landlord did not give the tenant proper notice.
- The process had substantial errors.
- The tenant did not commit the violations the landlord is alleging.
Attending the Court Hearing
If the tenant contests the eviction, the landlord will need to prepare themselves for the court hearing of the eviction case. Make sure to bring things to court like:
- A copy of the lease agreement.
- A copy of the eviction order.
- A copy of the summons and complaint.
- Any supporting evidence that may be useful in the case.
If the court judgment is entered in your favor, the court will subsequently issue you with an Eviction Order. The tenant will have no other option but to vacate the rental, unless they file an appeal.
Once the court order is issued, the tenant will have up to 14 days to leave. However, if the eviction is due to illegal activity or illegal drug activity, the tenant will only have 7 days to move out.
If the tenant is still adamant about staying, the sheriff will remove them and return the rental to you.
Landlords in this state have a right to evict tenants from their rented premises for certain legally justified reasons. But to be successful, you’ll need to abide by all applicable laws. If you have a question or need expert help in managing your rental, then look no further than Domain Property Management.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.