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Representation of Landlords and Condominium Associations in Eviction Cases
Minchella & Associates is a real estate law firm that represents landlords and condominium associations in eviction proceedings. Managing partner Erica Crohn Minchella is experienced in advising landlords and Condominium Associations on best practices to protect against Unit owners who are delinquent on assessments and on best practices to protect against tenant claims.
The Eviction Process in Illinois
The most often question we receive is what is the eviction process in Illinois for landlords? Before getting there, be advised, do not file an eviction lawsuit unless you have been compliant with the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance. Otherwise, you may be hit with penalties and attorney’s fees. The most common being not paying interest on or segregating security deposits.
In the eviction process the attorney will assure, among other things, that the lease is terminated with the correct notice of termination - 5 days, 10 days or 30 days. This is set forth by Illinois statute not in the lease agreement. Consult with Minchella & Associates before you decide upon:
5 day notice: A five day notice to pay rent or quit is what a landlord should do when rent is late. Serve the notice and if rent is not paid by end of 5 days, the lease is terminated. A critical piece of information is that most Cook County judges will not allow the termination if the landlord accepts a rent payment even after the 5 day notice terminates the lease.
10 day notice: A ten day notice is required where there is a non-monetary default in the lease. For instance, if a tenant was supposed to have insurance but did not obtain it. If the tenant does not obtain insurance by the end of 10 days, the lease is terminated and cannot be resurrected.
30 day notice: A thirty day notice occurs when a landlord has a tenant paying on a month-to-month basis or an Association has a non-paying unit owner. The term of the lease is 30 days. If the tenant breaches the lease, the landlord will have to serve notice at beginning of the next 30 day period. The tenant then remains in the property for 30 days even though they may not be paying rent. At the end of 30 days, the landlord or the Association has the right to file an eviction action.
It is important to note ‘how’ you serve notice. Notice must be served by putting notice in the hands of your tenant or an occupant that is over 13 years old. Only if you cannot find the tenant can you serve by posting on their door. In the event you are required to post this way, take photos of the notice for evidentiary purposes.
Minchella & Associates represented a Chicago landlord whose tenant was consistently late on paying his rent. As such, we filed an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. The tenant did not want an eviction on his record. As such, he paid all outstanding rent that was owed and has been current on his rent every month since. In this matter, filing suit to let the tenant know the landlord was serious made the difference. The cost to our client was very modest. And in exchange, our client had a rehabilitated tenant.
What Happens in an Eviction Lawsuit?
The next step in the eviction process is filing a lawsuit. Unlike most lawsuits that are filed in state court, eviction lawsuits actually move fairly quickly. Once filed, the notice of eviction has to be served by the sheriff. If the sheriff cannot get the party served, the court may allow alternate service like a letter or certified letter or by FedEx. Generally speaking, your case will be heard within 2 - 3 weeks of the case being filed.
At the first appearance, the defendant, if she or he appears, will often be granted a short (around 1 week) continuance to get a lawyer or to otherwise get things together. If the tenant comes to the hearing with money, the judge will ask a landlord if they want to accept the payment. If the landlord does accept the payment, the case will usually be dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the landlord can file suit at a later date if the tenant becomes delinquent again.
At the next appearance, the case will be resolved or if not, the defendant's attorney may file a demand for trial by jury. If that occurs, the eviction process could be extended significantly.Then the parties will be forced to go through the litigation process which can include discovery such as interrogatories and requests for production of documents etc. Still, the process will go quicker than traditional litigation as the court understands that time is of the essence.
Eviction Enforcement Process
Once we obtain the eviction order from the Court, we will place it with the sheriff’s office who will then remove the tenants from your property. The sheriff does not forcibly remove a tenant’s property from the premises – or put them on the curb, so to speak. They will place a seal across the door and the Landlord will have the right to change the locks. The tenant needs to make arrangements to remove their belongings. If the tenant fails to comply, the landlord can dispose of them.
If you need the help of a Chicago landlord eviction attorney, contact the lawyers at Minchella & Associates for a free consultation.