As a landlord, you need to build a good rapport with your tenants because they’re the major source of your income. However, sometimes tenant issues occur that disrupt your earning potential.
To prevent having to handle problematic renters, landlords should have a tenant screening procedure in place. Landlords should check the tenants’ financial background, employment history, credit record, criminal record, and past tenancies to ensure that they won’t cause any trouble.
However, no matter how strict you are with tenant screening, there’s still a chance of issues arising during the tenancy. When this happens, you may be left with no choice but to start an eviction process.
It’s for this reason that landlords in Illinois should be familiar with the eviction process. In addition to this process, you should familiarize yourself with the state’s landlord-tenant laws to ensure that your rental endeavor is successful.
In today’s post, we at Keyrenter Northwest Chicago will cover the basic steps involved in the state’s legal eviction process. Understanding the process can help protect your investment property.
Notice for Lease Termination with Legal Cause
To start the eviction process, an Illinois landlord needs to have a valid reason. Valid reasons to evict a tenant include:
- Failing to pay rent promptly
- Violating the terms of the lease agreement
- Staying at the property even though the lease ended
- Being involved in illegal activities
Serving a Tenant with an Eviction Notice in Illinois
Landlords in Illinois are required to provide tenants with a written notice, which will vary depending on the grounds for eviction. Types of notice include the following:
1. Non-Payment of Rent
Illinois landlords may evict tenants for not paying the rent on time. Landlords are required to provide at least 5 days’ notice to pay rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant refuses to pay or move out of the property during that period, the landlord can then proceed with the eviction process.
Based on Illinois law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due. Landlords can then start with the eviction process by serving the tenants proper written notice as soon as the rent is considered late.
2. No Lease or End of Lease
If a tenant stays at the premises even after the lease has ended, the landlord can evict the tenant on the grounds of no lease or the end of a lease. Landlords are required to first terminate the tenancy by giving tenants 30 days’ notice to move out. After the notice expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process if the tenant refuses to move out.
Depending on the payment schedule you and your tenants have, the number of days for the notice will change. You have to provide:
- 7 days’ notice for weekly rent payments
- 30 days’ notice for quarterly rent payments
- No notice is needed for fixed-term leases
3. Violation of Lease or Responsibilities
If Illinois tenants violate the terms of the lease agreement or don’t uphold their duties and responsibilities under the law, landlords have the right to evict them. Landlords should provide 10 days’ written notice to cure the issue or vacate the premises. If the tenants refuse to do either, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.
4. Illegal Activity
Illinois law clearly states that tenants who are involved in illegal activities may be evicted from the rental property. Landlords should give tenants 5 days’ notice to vacate, and if the tenant remains at the property after the notice expires, the landlord can proceed with the eviction lawsuit.
Tenant Eviction Defenses in Illinois
Your tenants are allowed to defend themselves when facing eviction. The defense is a reason why the petitioner (the landlords) shouldn’t win the case. Illegal eviction tactics in Illinois include:
Self-help Evictions: If the landlord tries to forcibly remove a tenant, it’s considered illegal eviction. Self-help evictions include shutting off utilities, changing the locks, and removing tenants’ belongings.
Retaliatory Evictions: If the landlord finds a way to evict tenants as a retaliatory response for exercising their protected rights, it’s considered illegal. Tenants’ rights include requesting habitability repairs and filing a complaint regarding a health or building code violation.
Attending Court Hearing in Illinois
After the landlords serve the necessary eviction notice to the tenants and file the lawsuit, court hearings will then be scheduled within 14 days. If the tenant doesn’t contest the eviction, the landlord needs to prepare the following for the hearing:
- Copy of the lease agreement
- Notice to quit or to pay
- Copy of complaint and summons
- The receipt that the complaint and summons were served to the tenant
- Any evidence like photos of damage and billing statements
- Witnesses to help prove the case in court
If the court decides in favor of the landlord, the eviction order will be issued. It serves as the tenants’ final notice to vacate the premises and remove their belongings before the sheriff will remove them.
If the reason for eviction is due to illegal activity, the sheriff must return to the property within 7 days to remove the tenants from the property. If the reason for eviction is not related to illegal activity, the sheriff may remove the tenant within 14 days, depending on the location of the court.
Being familiar with the legal eviction process is critical. You should also be aware of other rental laws pertaining to security deposits, early lease termination, and Fair Housing laws.
If you think the eviction process is too much to handle on your own, it’s best to partner with a reputable property management company. The team at Keyrenter Northwest Chicago can help you manage your rental properties and maximize your ROI. Contact us today to learn more!
Disclaimer: This blog isn’t intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Laws change and this information may become obsolete at the time you read it. For further help, please get in touch with a qualified attorney or an experienced property management company.