What You Need To Know About Eviction in Illinois

Whether you live in Chicago or Springfield, your landlord can’t evict you without written notice.
Written by Nick Kunze
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Landlords are required to give tenants written notice of eviction—either five days for failure to pay rent or ten days for breaking the lease—in
. It is illegal to evict a tenant without first having a trial in the courts.
It is crucial to know your rights as a tenant. Tenants are protected, and there is a specific legal process landlords must go through to evict a tenant. If you’re an Illinois renter, understanding the eviction process can keep you off the streets and in your rental.
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Illinois eviction 101: four ways you can be evicted

You cannot be evicted due to the whims of the landlord. There are a few specific reasons that can lead to eviction in Illinois. On top of that, you cannot be evicted all at once—there must be a written notice of eviction before you are kicked out.
Here are a few different legal justifications for eviction in Illinois:
  • Failure to pay rent: If you have not paid rent, you can be evicted. However, your landlord must give you a five-day written notice of eviction. If you can pay your due rent in full by that time, you will not be evicted.
  • Violation of lease: If you broke any of the rules stated in the lease, you can be evicted. For lease violations, you will be given a 10-day written notice of eviction. If you can fix the violation by then, you may be able to avoid eviction.
  • Damage to the property: If you’ve seriously damaged the property, this is a justification for eviction.
  • Failure to leave at end of the lease: If your lease has ended, but you have refused to move out, you can be evicted.
Just as important as understanding what you can be evicted for is understanding what you can’t be evicted for. Below are a few unjust reasons for eviction:
  • Complaining to the landlord or building inspector about the condition of the rental.
  • Not paying rent under the condition that you left the rental due to domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence.
  • Anything that breaks the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, and more.
Being aware of what you can and cannot be evicted for can protect you from being unfairly displaced from your rental.
Key Takeaway There are only certain reasons you can be evicted in the state of Illinois, and the landlord must provide written notice. 

A timeline of eviction in Illinois

Other than a written notice, how does the timeline of eviction work? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how the eviction process works in Illinois.
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
5-30 days
You must receive a written notice of eviction from your landlord. How much notice you need is dependent on the cause of eviction. For unpaid rent, five days' notice is due. For a lease violation, a 10-day notice is due. For non-renewal of a year lease or month-to-month rental, 30 days' notice is due.
Serving of eviction
Within 60 days of filing
The landlord will file the eviction case. You will then be served a copy of the eviction complaint. The complaint must be served at least three days before the hearing.
7-40 days after the summons was issued
The hearing takes place, where both the tenant and landlord state their case. Unlike in other states, the tenant is not required to file a formal answer to the complaint before the hearing.
Writ of execution
A few hours to a few days
If the tenant loses, the landlord must request a writ of execution to get the tenant removed by the sheriff.
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All in all, you’ll likely have at least 15 days or even a few months between being given an eviction notice and being officially kicked out by law enforcement.

How to resist eviction in Illinois

There are ways to fight back against eviction in the state of Illinois. If you want to stay in your rental after being given a written notice of eviction, here’s what you need to do:
  • Address the cause of eviction: Part of the reason for notice ahead of time is to give the tenant a chance to right the wrongs that have led to eviction. If you can pay your rent or make right whatever aspect of the lease you broke, you may be able to stay.
  • Note a procedural mistake: There’s a specific legal process a landlord must follow to evict a tenant. If they don’t follow the steps, your case can get thrown out. 
  • Argue against the landlord: If you believe the landlord is at-fault for whatever you’re being evicted for, you may be able to win the court case. For example, if you’re being evicted for water damage, but you have proof you pointed out a plumbing issue to the landlord beforehand, you can avoid eviction.
  • Point out discrimination: If you’re being evicted due to discrimination, your landlord is directly breaking the Fair Housing Act. You can get your case dismissed by proving you’re being discriminated against due to race, gender, religious affiliation, or other reasons.

How to save money on Illinois car and renters insurance

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