Illinois Eviction Notices
Illinois eviction notices are primarily used by landlords to inform tenants that they have violated their lease or rental agreement. In the case of non-payment of rent, the tenant may retain possession of the dwelling if they provide payment in full by the date the notice period expires. Other notice types will not allow the tenant to continue their tenancy. If the tenant does not vacate the premises or correct their violations, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit, a.k.a. “Forcible Entry and Detainer,” with a local courthouse.
How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
A landlord may commence the eviction process as soon as the tenant violates the terms of their lease or rental agreement (e.g., late rent, non-compliance, failure to vacate). The landlord shall notify the tenant of their violations in writing and specify a period in which they must either vacate or rectify their transgressions (if applicable). If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord may seek to file a Forcible Entry and Detainer lawsuit to evict the tenant.
Step 1 – Notice Type
You will need to begin by serving the tenant with an eviction letter known as a “Notice to Quit.” The notice will outline the period in which the tenant must either pay rent, cure their violations, or vacate if their tenancy is being terminated or if nothing can be done to solve the issue. There are several notice forms available, each varying based on the nature of the eviction and the type of tenancy. Begin by selecting your notice type from the following list:
5-Day Notice to Quit – To evict for non-payment of rent.
5-Day Notice to Quit – To evict for unlawful activity conducted on the leased premises.
10-Day Notice to Quit – To evict for non-compliance with the lease agreement.
30-Day Notice to Quit – To terminate a month-to-month tenancy.
Step 2 – Serve Notice
Fill out the notice completely except for the “Affidavit of Service.” Once completed, a copy of the document must be served to the tenant. The most efficient method of service is to personally deliver the letter to the tenant or another resident of the dwelling who is at least thirteen (13) years of age. Alternatively, you can send the notice to the tenant by certified or registered mail with a return receipt requested.
If no one appears to be in possession of the dwelling at the time the notice is delivered, the notice may be posted on the premises of the rental unit.
Step 3 – Proof of Service
It will be your responsibility to prove that the notice was served to the tenant. This step will be accomplished by signing an Affidavit of Service in front of a notary public (the Affidavit is included in the Notice to Quit). A notary can often be located at most banks and financial institutions.
Step 4 – Prepare Complaint
If the notice period expires and the tenant has not paid rent, corrected their violations, or vacated the dwelling, you may initiate the eviction process by filing a Complaint with a local courthouse. Illinois has no State-approved Complaint form; you will need to contact a clerk to request the document designated for use in your county (see sample form).
Step 5 – File Complaint
As of January 1, 2018, Illinois demands that all Complaints be filed electronically (e-filed). However, there are exemptions to this rule, such as if you do not have access to the internet at your home or if you have a disability preventing you from filing online. Review this webpage to learn more about e-filing exemptions.
Note: Filing fees vary depending on the county. Contact a clerk in advance to determine the exact amount. If you cannot afford the fee, an exemption can be requested (review the exemption guide for more information).
How to E-File
Begin by creating an online account with one of the State approved service providers. Next, upload the Complaint to your computer in PDF format. Sign into your online account and navigate through the instructions to file your Complaint. After filing, you will need to provide payment for the fee via credit card, e-check, or with cash if you are e-filing at a courthouse (only permitted in certain counties).
How to Paper File
Take the original Complaint and at least one (1) photocopy to a local courthouse. Submit all items to a clerk and pay the filing fee. Have the clerk stamp your paperwork. The original Complaint will be filed, and your copies will be returned to you.
Step 6 – Trial Date and Summons
After your Complaint is filed, you will be issued a date for your court hearing. You may be allowed to select this date or it may be chosen for you by a clerk. If you did not select the date, ask a clerk to provide you with this information. A Summons will then be issued which must be served to the tenant; a Summons informs the tenant that they are being sued and that they must appear in court (see example Summons).
Note: If there are any residents of the rental unit whose name you do not know, you may include them in the eviction by entering “Unknown Occupants” on the “Defendant(s)” line of the Summons.
Step 7 – Serve Summons
Bring the Summons and a copy of the Complaint to the sheriff’s office in your county. Ask for the sheriff to serve both documents on the tenant (a fee will be required). Contact the sheriff’s office before your trial to ensure that these documents have been properly served. If the sheriff could not serve the tenant, you may need to employ the services of a private detective or special process server. More information on alternative service methods can be found here.
Step 8 – Trial Date
Go to your court hearing on the date and time specified on the Summons. You will need to bring copies of all relevant documents (i.e., Notice to Quit with notarized Affidavit of Service, Complaint, Summons, lease or rental agreement). You should also have your evidence prepared including any witnesses and photographs supporting the eviction. Present your case to the judge and await a verdict.
Step 9 – Judgment
If the verdict is in your favor, the judge will award you an Eviction Order. The judge will require the tenant to vacate within a certain number of days (around 14). If the tenant does not move after this time, you may use the Eviction Order at the sheriff’s department to have the tenant physically removed from the rental property. You cannot remove the tenant yourself. The Eviction Order expires after one-hundred and twenty (120) days. If the Order expires, you will need to obtain a new one before the sheriff can remove the tenant.