A reference of Illinois eviction laws, and steps of the Illinois eviction process for landlords and renters, updated 2021.
- What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under Illinois eviction laws?
- Nonpayment of rent (735 ILCS 5/9-209).
- Non-compliance with the lease terms (incurable) (735 ILCS 5/9-120).
- Non-compliance with the lease terms (curable) (735 ILCS 5/9-210).
- Remaining in possession of the property after the lease term has ended (735 ILCS 5/9-207 and 735 ILCS 5/9-205).
- What notice do Illinois eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
- For evictions based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must give a 5-day notice before starting the eviction process in Illinois. (735 ILCS 5/9-209).
- For evictions based on non-compliance of the lease terms, the landlord must provide a 5-day notice for non-compliance (incurable). This type of notice is provided if the tenant is using the property illegally to commit a crime. (735 ILCS 5/9-120).
- For evictions based on non-compliance of a nature that can be cured, the landlord must provide a 10-day notice. During this time, the tenant can “cure” or fix the issue to avoid eviction. (735 ILCS 5/9-210)
- For evictions based on an illegal holdover, the landlord must give the tenant notice before terminating the lease. The amount of notice depends on how frequently rent is paid. If rent is paid on a weekly basis, the landlord must give a 7-day notice. If rent is paid monthly, the landlord must give a 30-day notice. (735 ILCS 5/9-207). If the rent is paid annually, the landlord must give 60-day notice. (735 ILCS 5/9-205).
- Do Illinois eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities?
- No. Illinois law forbids landlords from using self-help eviction methods. A landlord can be required to provide one month’s rent for every month the tenant did not have utility service, plus consequential damages. Additionally, if the termination was due to deliberate or reckless indifference or disregard to the tenant’s rights, the landlord can be required to pay $300, or $5,000 split between all tenants if the landlord’s actions affected multiple tenants. (765 ILCS 735/1.4).
Illinois Eviction Process: Step-by-Step
Here are the major steps for the eviction process in Illinois:
- Provide a written eviction notice. The landlord begins the eviction process in Illinois by providing the appropriate written notice to the tenant that states the reasons why the landlord is evicting the tenant and gives them a certain number of days to vacate the property.
- File a forcible entry and detainer action. If the tenant does not move out by the date indicated in the eviction notice, the landlord can file a Forcible Entry and detainer action with the local circuit court in the county where the property is located by filing a Complaint. The landlord will also need to prepare a Summons, which notifies the tenant that they are being sued and tells them their deadline for responding to the complaint, and pay the court filing fee. Illinois generally requires electronic filing.
- Serve the tenant. The landlord must serve the tenant with the Complaint and Summons by the sheriff’s office or a private process server. The landlord is responsible for these costs.
- Wait for a response. The tenant can respond to the lawsuit by filing an Answer to complaint.
- Attend the court hearing. The landlord and tenant will appear at the designated court hearing. If the tenant does not appear or the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the judge issues an Eviction Order. This legal document gives a date by which the tenant must vacate the property.
- Notify the sheriff. If the tenant does not leave by the date indicated in the eviction order, the landlord can give a copy of the eviction order to the sheriff to enforce it against the tenant.