Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, the eviction process can often feel confusing and downright unfair.  A tenant may feel as though they are being taken advantage of or being preyed upon during a vulnerable time in their life.  A landlord may feel as though the process is overly bureaucratic and requires too many steps.  Whichever side of the aisle you fall on, Sherer Law Offices is here to share a few things every landlord and tenant should know about the eviction process.

To begin, a landlord must have some legal reason to force a tenant to move out of a rental unit before the terms of their lease has expired.  Most commonly, evictions occur because the tenant has stopped paying rent, although violations of other terms of the lease can also spark an eviction. Depending on the alleged violation, there are different procedures that the landlord must follow.

If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord must first demand payment and notify the tenant in writing that unless payment is made, the lease will be terminated.[1]  The landlord is then required to allow the tenant five days to pay in full before they can start the eviction process.  In order to prevent a tenant from trying to pay only part of what is owed, the landlord should indicate that only full payment of the past-due rent will waive the landlord’s rights to terminate the lease unless the landlord and tenant reach an agreement for the landlord to accept partial payment.

If a tenant violates other terms of the lease or rental agreement, the landlord can serve them with what is commonly known as a ten-day service to quit.[2] This signed notice states that the tenant has ten days to move out the rental unit because of the violation.  If the notice is properly provided, no other notice or demand of possession or termination of the lease is required.  If the tenant fails to move out within the allotted ten days, the landlord may terminate the lease and begin the eviction process with the court.

A common issue that may complicate an eviction is when notice has not been properly served.  The notice of eviction can be properly delivered in three different ways. First, it can be hand delivered to the residence and left with a person 13 years old or older who is residing or in possession of the rental unit.[3]  Second, the notice can be sent via certified or registered mail, with a return receipt. Third, the notice can be posted on the door of the rental unit.

After notice has been given and the landlord has waited the required amount of time, if a tenant has not moved, the eviction proceedings themselves can begin. They begin by the landlord filing an eviction complaint with the court in the county in which the rental unit is located.[4]  The court will then issue the tenant a copy of the complaint and a summons stating a hearing date.  At the hearing the tenant and the landlord will be given the opportunity to plead their case and a judge will then make a final decision.

During this hearing a tenant may want to use a variety of different defenses. For example, the tenant may claim that notice was not served properly, that the landlord did not give them the required time to leave the rental, or that their failure to pay rent was due to a problem with the rental that justified the either completely or partially withholding rent.  Depending on the situation, the tenant may also argue other defenses.

For more information and help regarding the eviction process and procedures call Sherer Law Offices at (618) 692-6656. 

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[1]735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/9-209

[2]735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/9-210

[3]735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/9-211

[4]735 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/9-106