The Rights of a Landlord & Tenant During the Eviction Process!
Today’s blog circles around forcible entry and detainers, more commonly known as “evictions”. First, we’ll discuss the VERY important things that landlords should take care of prior to filing an eviction suit. Next, we’ll discuss the process for evictions today as it stands for Illinois courts.
Obviously if a landlord has gotten to a point where they want to evict a tenant, there must be some good reason. Oftentimes these reasons fall into one of two categories:
(1) the tenant has failed to pay rent or
If the first situation occurs, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 5-day notice to quit under Illinois law. The notice must state the tenant name, address, amount of rent that is outstanding, and it must be signed by the landlord or landlord’s agent. There are other items that are usually present in the notice; if you’re unsure of whether your 5-day notice template is proper, contact our office for our template.
(2) the tenant has violated a material term of the lease and the landlord wishes to terminate the lease.
If the second scenario is present and the tenant has violated a term of the lease, a 10-day notice is proper. The notice must state the tenant name, address, and (very important here) the specific section of the lease agreement that has been violated by the tenant. Again, if you’re unsure about your template, reach out to our office for assistance.
After the proper notice period has passed and the tenant has not vacated the premises, the landlord may institute a forcible entry and detainer action against the tenant. At this point, the landlord must file a complaint against the tenant citing the reason(s) for the eviction. After the complaint has been filed, a first appearance hearing date will be assigned at the respective courthouse. The landlord must then have the complaint served on the tenant using either an approved process server or Sheriff’s Department.
After the tenant has been served, it is the tenant’s duty to respond to the allegations in the complaint.
Another important point to consider is the method of service provided to a tenant. The tenant should be served via personal service of the person being evicted or service of a resident at the premises over the age of 13. Also, make sure that the person providing the notice fills out an affidavit of service. It is true that a tenant can be served by affixing the notice to the door, but this scenario is very rarely proper. If notice is improper, no matter the merits of the case, the eventual eviction suit may be dismissed by the court.
After the tenant has been served, it is the tenant’s duty to respond to the allegations in the complaint. If the tenant fails to respond and fails to attend the first appearance hearing despite proper service, the landlord may be granted a default judgment, meaning that the landlord will receive possession of the property and a money judgment against the tenant. If the tenant disputes or shows up to the first appearance, oftentimes the court will require mediation and set a trial date into the future in the event that mediation is unsuccessful. If mediation is successful, the case will usually be closed. If mediation is unsuccessful, a bench trial is usually held whereby the parties plead their case to a judge. After the bench trial, the judge will rule and if the landlord is successful, enter an eviction order and provide the tenant with a couple of days to gather their belongings and vacate the property. If the tenant fails to vacate, the landlord may be forced to provide the eviction order to the Sheriff's Department to force entry and remove the tenant.
The eviction process doesn’t have to be so complicated. With the experienced team at Hampleman Law, LLC, you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost care and promptly solved. Please contact our office today for an initial, no-cost consultation.