Chicago Evictions Attorney

Evictions in Illinois are governed by the Forcible Entry and Detainer Statute (Chapter 735 ILCS § 5/9-101, et seq.), and are often referred to as “forcible actions.” The Landlord may file a single action (seeking possession of the leased premises) or a joint action (seeking possession plus unpaid rent).

In Chicago, and in many other towns and municipalities, there are also local ordinances which may govern the leasing of residential properties and the eviction process. In Chicago, the Ordinance is known as the Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO).

A copy of the RLTO may be found at this Website. Also, a summary of the RTLO, which must be attached to all Chicago residential leases, can be downloaded from this Website. Failure by the Landlord to follow the procedures and other requirements of the Statute or Ordinance could result in the dismissal of a pending eviction case (costing the Landlord valuable time and money) or the imposition of even more severe penalties against the Landlord (see below).

Contact an experienced Chicago Evictions Lawyer.

At the Law Office of James Kottaras, our primary objective is to expedite the eviction process for the client. We do this by making sure that the proper procedures are followed, from serving the appropriate termination Notice to the entry of the Order for Possession.

In cases in which the tenant attempts to prolong the eviction proceeding by requesting endless continuances or by the filing of a Jury Demand, we will routinely file a Motion for Use and Occupancy, in which case the Judge will order the tenant to pay rent during the pendency of the case. In many cases were the tenant willfully refuses to pay the Court-ordered rent, we are then able to have an Order for Possession entered as a sanction for the tenant’s violation of the Court Order.

If, after having reviewed the information contained on this website, you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office for a Free telephone consultation (Tel (312) 346-5297) or simply fill-out the “Ask a Question” form on the right-hand side of this Webpage.

General Evictions Procedures

The following are general guidelines for evicting tenant(s) in Cook County, and more specifically, within the City of Chicago. Please note that this article is focused on evictions from a Landlord’s perspective. Any information contained on this website is not, and should not be construed to be, specific legal advice. Each case is different and the information contained herein is general in nature.

Evictions Based on Non-Payment of Rent:

If the property is residential, a 5-Day Notice of termination is required under the statute. In Chicago, residential leases may not contain provisions waiving this notice requirement. Also, the Notice itself must conform to the strict requirements of the statute, including that it contain a complete description of the property and a certificate of service on the tenant(s). Only the amount of delinquent rent may be included in the Notice. Late fees, unpaid portions of security deposits, parking fees and the like may not be included in the Notice. If the tenant tenders full payment of rent due, in accordance with the Notice, then the tenancy cannot be terminated. If the tenant tenders payment of less than the full amount of delinquent rent, and the Landlord accepts any amount of money from a residential tenant after serving the Notice, then the tenancy is reestablished and a new 5-Day Notice must be served.

Evictions Based on Other Breaches of Lease:

Breaches of any of the other terms of a lease (other than non-payment of rent; i.e. unauthorized occupants or pets, nuisance, etc.) require service of a 10-Day Notice of Termination. Service should be made in the same manner as described below.

Hold-Over Tenants:

If a Lease expires, and the tenant does not tender possession of the premises to the Landlord, then the Landlord must serve the Tenant with either a 5-Day Notice for non-payment of rent or a 30-Day Notice to terminate. If, however, the Landlord does not file an eviction, but instead accepts rent from the tenant, then a hold-over tenancy is created for an identical length of time and under the same terms as the expired lease. The RLTO requires that the Landlord provide written notice at least 30 days prior to the termination date of the lease of the Landlord’s desire to either renew the tenancy or terminate the same. If no such notice is served, then the tenant may remain in possession up to 60 days after the date such written notice isserved on the tenant.

Periodic Tenancies:

A month-to-month tenancy may be terminated with a written 30-day notice. The notice must be served no later than 30 days before the date of termination and must state that the tenancy will terminate on the last day of the calendar month, unless rent is due sometime other than the first of the month. Therefore, to terminate a month-to-month tenancy at the end of February (in a non-leap year), the landlord must serve the notice on or before January 29. In months of 30 days, the notice must be served on or before the last day of the preceding month; for a 31-day month, the notice must be served on or before the first day of the same month.

Service of Termination Notices:

All of the above mentioned Notices must be served on the tenant personally or upon a person 13 years of age or older who resides in or is in possession of the premises; OR by certified or registered mail, returned receipt requested. If the leased premises have been abandoned by the tenant and all other occupants, the Notice may be posted on the door. Under the RLTO, the Tenant has abandoned the Premises if: (a) the tenant gives actual notice of tenant’s intention not to return; or (b) rent is unpaid and the tenant and all people under the lease have been absent from the unit for more than 32 days.

Tenant Refuses Landlord Access:

Under the RLTO, unless an emergency, the Landlord must provide a Tenant 48 hours Notice of its intent to enter the rented unit to: (a) do work on the premises, or (b) allow governmental inspections, or (c) exhibit the property to prospective purchasers or prospective tenants (60 days or less prior to expiration of tenancy). If a tenant refuses to allow the Landlord access to the leased premises, then the Landlord may file an eviction proceeding against the tenant, as per the 10-Day Notice procedures outlined above.

Claims of Retaliatory Eviction:

The RLTO prohibits landlords from terminating or threatening to terminate a tenancy, increase rent, decrease services, bring or threaten to bring a lawsuit, or refuse to renew a tenancy merely because the tenant has (a) complained to any agency or official responsible for the enforcement of a building, housing, health, or similar code; (b) complained to or sought the assistance of a community organization or the news media in an attempt to remedy a code violation or an illegal landlord practice; (c) asked the landlord to make repairs; (d) joined a tenant union; (e) testified in court about the condition of the premises; or (f) exercised any right or remedy provided by law. Tenants may raise any violation of this provision as a germane defense in an eviction action. If there is evidence that the tenant engaged in any of the protected activities described in the preceding paragraph during the one-year period immediately preceding the alleged retaliation, there arises a rebuttable presumption that the landlord’s conduct was retaliatory. More importantly, a tenant who establishes that the landlord engaged in retaliatory conduct is entitled either to (a) recover possession of the premises or (b) terminate the rental agreement. In either case, she may recover an amount equal to not more than two months’ rent or twice her actual damages, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Security Deposit Violations:

Pursuant to the RLTO, a Landlord must:

  • Give a tenant a receipt for a security deposit including the owner’s name, the date it was received and a description of the dwelling unit. The receipt must be signed by the person accepting the security deposit.
  • Pay interest each year on security deposits and prepaid rent held more than six months (the rate of interest a landlord must pay is set each year by the City Comptroller).
  • Before expenses for damages can be deducted from the security deposit, the landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized statement of the damages within 30 days of the date the tenant vacates the dwelling unit.
  • Return all security deposit and required interest, if any, minus unpaid rent and expenses for damages, within 45 days from the date the tenant vacates the unit.
  • In the event of a fire, a landlord must return all security deposit and required interest, if any, minus unpaid rent and expenses for damages, within seven days from the date that the tenantprovides notice of termination of the rental agreement.

A minor violation of any of the above requirements may result in the imposition of severe damages/penalties against the Landlord, including an award to the tenant of twice (2X) the amount of the security deposit, plus attorney fees, interest and court costs. Consequently, it is imperative that the Landlord comply with these particular provisions of the RLTO.

If, after having reviewed the information contained on this website, you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office for a free telephone consultation (Tel (312) 346-5297) or simply fill-out the “Ask a Question” form on the right hand side of this Webpage.

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