In Illinois, landlords have the option of evicting a renter who is late on their rent. This is how.
In Illinois, a landlord may remove a tenant for failing to pay rent on time. When a tenant receives an eviction notice, also known as a notice to pay rent or depart, he or she has five days to either pay the rent or vacate the rental property before the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit.
This article will outline the steps landlords must take in Illinois when evicting a tenant for nonpayment of rent under the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, especially 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-209.
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Rent Due Dates in Illinois
Unless otherwise specified in the lease or rental agreement, rent is normally payable on the first of each month. Weekends and holidays are included. Rent may be due on the next business day after a weekend or holiday if the landlord agrees, but this must be indicated in the lease or rental agreement.
Eviction Notice Timelines in Illinois
A landlord may initiate the eviction procedure as soon as a tenant fails to pay rent on time. This implies that the landlord may serve an eviction notice, also known as a notice to vacate or notice to pay rent or leave, on the tenant the day after rent is due. The tenant has five days after receiving the notice to leave to either pay the rent or vacate the leased property. The five-day period starts on the day the renter receives the notification. Weekends and holidays are counted as part of the five-day period (see 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-209).
Information about Illinois Eviction Notices for Rent Nonpayment
The notification of resignation must be in writing and contain the following information:
date served on the tenant(s) name(s) and address of the tenant(s) rental unit reason for the notice (that the tenant failed to pay rent for a specified period of time)
entire amount of past-due rent, including any late fees, and where and to whom the rent and late fees should be paid
a statement that the tenant has five days to pay the rent and late charges (the notice should specify the exact date by which this must occur) or move out, an ultimatum that the landlord may pursue legal action (an eviction lawsuit) if the tenant does not pay the entire rent within five days or move, and a statement specifying how the notice was given to the tenant, either by giving the notice to the tenant or posting the notice on the tenant’s door.
During this five-day period, the landlord is not required to accept partial rent payments. If the landlord refuses to accept a partial rent payment, the eviction notice must additionally include the following statement:
“Unless the landlord agrees in writing to prolong the lease in exchange for receiving partial payment, only FULL PAYMENT of the rent asked in this notice would renounce the landlord’s right to terminate the lease under this notice.”
If the landlord does not include this statement, the tenant may pay any part of the rent due and owing within five days and remain in the rental unit (see 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-209), and the landlord may not continue with the eviction litigation.
The Illinois Legal Aid website has an example five-day eviction notice.
Serving Eviction Notices to Illinois Tenants
According to 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-211, the landlord has three alternatives when filing an eviction notice:
1. The landlord or a landlord’s agent may physically deliver the notice to the tenant or to someone above the age of 13 who also resides at the rented property.
2. The landlord may send a copy of the three-day notice by registered or certified mail, with a return receipt requested.
3. If the landlord is unable to give the tenant the notice personally, the landlord may post the eviction notice at the rental unit in a visible location, such as posted to the front door.
The landlord must properly serve the eviction notice otherwise the five-day time limit will not apply. If the landlord fails to properly serve the eviction notice, the landlord must prepare a new notice and restart the process, following all regulations.
Tenant Reactions to a Five-Day Eviction Notice in Illinois
When responding to eviction notifications, a tenant has numerous alternatives, and how a renter reacts will influence the landlord’s future steps:
If the renter pays the rent within five days, the eviction procedure is completed. If the tenant fails to pay rent in the future, the landlord must issue a fresh eviction notice and begin the eviction procedure all over again.
If the tenant fails to pay the rent but leaves within five days, the landlord may utilize the security deposit (if any) to repay the unpaid rent. If the security deposit does not cover the whole amount of rent owed, including late fees, the landlord may sue the renter for the amount still unpaid.
If the tenant does not pay the rent within five days and does not vacate the premises, the landlord must launch a lawsuit to reclaim the property. This is also known as a forceful entrance and detainer litigation.
Illinois Eviction Lawsuits
In the county courtroom where the rental property is located, the landlord must file an eviction case, often known as a forceful entry and detainer complaint. To gain legal ownership of the property, the landlord must win the eviction action in court.
To evict a tenant, landlords must not participate in “self-help” techniques such as changing the locks (see 765 Ill. Comp. Stat. 735/1.4) or turning off the utilities. When submitting the eviction complaint and summons, the landlord should carefully follow all of the requirements.
The Illinois Legal Aid website has an example complaint and summons for a forceful entrance and detainer case.