What You Need to Know About Illinois Eviction Laws & Process

Eviction can be a complicated topic whether you are a landlord or a tenant, especially if you are unaware of the eviction laws and processes. Between the deadlines for payment to your rights as a tenant, there are many laws you must be aware of during the eviction process. Here is everything you need to know about the eviction laws and processes in Illinois.

What is eviction?

When a landlord evicts a tenant, they are removing a tenant from their property through a legal process.

What are the legal reasons for evicting a tenant?

The legal reasons for evicting a tenant include, but are not limited to:

  • If a tenant refused to pay rent or misses a certain amount of rent payments
  • If the tenant breaks the rules in a lease agreement
  • If the tenant stays in the property for longer than what was specified in the lease agreement
  • If the tenant damages the property

What happens during the eviction process?

In order for a landlord to evict a tenant, they must follow a process for the eviction to be legal. They must also wait for the sheriff to enforce the eviction order and should not try to remove the tenant from their property on their own.

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Here is a breakdown of the eviction process:

1. Before starting an eviction case, the landlord must give the tenant a 5-day notice.

This 5-day notice should be given if the tenant does not pay the rent on time. This notice must include the date on the notice, the address of the property and unit number, the day the lease will end, and the amount owed by the tenant. By law, if the tenant does pay the rent within five days after the nonpayment notice is given, the landlord must accept it. The landlord cannot file an eviction case if the tenant pays within five days. If the tenant does not pay within the five days, then the landlord can then go through with an eviction case in court.

2. The landlord must give the tenant a written Notice to Terminate Tenancy.

3. The landlord can then follow up with an eviction case.

4. The landlord must fill out and sign an Eviction Complaint and an Evictions summons.

The Eviction Complaint is meant to start the eviction case, while the Eviction Summons’ purpose is to inform the tenant about the eviction case. The complaint must include information about the demand, notice, affidavits of service, and lease provisions if there was a breach of the lease that led to the election.

5. If the landlord is unable to fill these two documents, they must sign an Affidavit-Supporting Documents Not Attached to the Eviction Complaint form.
This form should only be filled out if the document was lost or does not apply in this case. This can happen if there was never a lease agreement.

6. These forms should then be filled with the court.

7. The next step is serving a summons to the tenant.

8. The eviction case then goes to court.

9. If the court finds that the landlord has a legal right to evict the tenant, an eviction order will be entered.

10. The tenant will then be required to vacate the premises.

11. If the tenant refuses to leave they will need to be escorted by a sheriff.

How long does the eviction process take in Illinois?

While every eviction case is different, the typical eviction process can take between two weeks to five months, depending on if the case goes to court or not.

What are unlawful reasons for evicting a tenant in Illinois?

Some reasons an eviction might be unlawful include:

  • Valid reasons for delay in rent: Not paying rent if the tenant left the property due to domestic violence.
  • Discrimination: Evicting a tenant due to protected class status including but not limited to: race, gender, sexual orientation, age, military status, disability, and/or religion.
  • Retaliation: If the tenant complains about the unit or a problem with the building that the building inspector deems as a valid objection.

Aside from evicting due to unlawful reasons, even if a landlord does evict a tenant for a lawful reason they must still provide proper notice to the tenant before evicting them. Other than the 5-day notice that was discussed in the section concerning the eviction process, there are two other notices that a landlord may be required to give depending on the circumstances: a 10-day notice, or an Unconditional Quit Notice.

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10-days Notice

A 10-Days Notice must be given to the tenant if the tenant is being evicted due to damages incurred, or if the tenant violated anything in the lease or rental agreement. Unlike the 5-day notice to pay rent, the landlord does not need to give the tenant time to correct the reason they are being evicted.

Unconditional Quit Notice

If a tenant is found using or selling illegal substances on the property that they occupy, then the landlord must give an Unconditional Quit Notice. The tenant will then have 5 days to vacate the premises before the landlord can file an eviction order through the courts.

Can an Eviction be Reversed in Illinois?

If the tenant was handed an eviction order, then they can still file a Motion to Vacate Judgment. This motion can be filed if you have proof you were either evicted unfairly, did not have fair notice about your eviction, or you and the landlord have reached an agreement that allows you to still live on the property.

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