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What Illinois Renters Need to Know About Eviction

The eviction process in Illinois takes up to 90 days from the first notice to the execution notice from a judge.

Illinois Real Property Law makes it easy for you to claim that you are a tenant and difficult for a landlord to legally evict tenants. A landlord may be charged with the misdemeanor of trespassing, punished for imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months and fined up to $500 if they enter a property without the consent of a tenant in lawful possession of the property.

Can I be evicted for any reason?

Nope! Your landlord can only evict you in Illinois for the following reasons:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Violating your lease
  • Failure to leave after the expiration of a lease
  • Damaging the property
  • If you are using the property for illegal purposes

One other thing to note: if you're a month-to-month tenant, your landlord is allowed to give you a 30-day termination notice whenever they'd like, for any reason. This is not an eviction, but you do have to move out.

What is the eviction process like in Illinois?

The legal eviction process involves a series of notices and court filings that all have to be executed at the right time and in the right way.

Notices to Cure Breach or Quit

If you are being evicted because you aren’t paying your rent or breached your lease agreement in some other way, then your landlord has to start by giving you an opportunity to fix the problem with a notice to cure breach. They’ll send you a five-day notice of the lease violation. It must say that failure to remedy the breach within five days would lead to a start of the eviction process.

If the violation is correctable, then you have 10 days to remedy the problem. If it isn't, then the notice is an order for you to leave within 10 days.

Eviction Complaint Summons

After serving you with a notice to quit, your landlord will need to serve you with an Eviction Complaint and Summons. It must:

  • Tell you why the landlord is evicting you
  • Tell you why your landlord terminated your tenancy
  • Include the date of the hearing

Summary Execution

A landlord gets an execution by going through the eviction process from start to finish: sending notices to quit, filing a summons and complaint, serving the summons and complaint, and showing up in court. Once they’ve gotten an execution, they need to have a sheriff to remove you or prevent you from entering your apartment.

How should the notices be delivered to me?

The summons and complaint may only be served by a sheriff, coroner, or a special process server authorized by law to serve court papers.

A sheriff or coroner must either personally hand you the summons and complaint or leave it at your apartment. If the summons and complaint is left at your apartment, they have to leave it with someone who lives at your apartment and is over the age of 13. If the person serving the papers speaks to the person receiving, or sees them come to the door, but then they go back into the house, the person can leave the papers on the door, or they can slip them under the door.

Alternatively, you may be served by certified or registered mail, with a copy of the notice and a return receipt from the addressee. And if no one is home, then you may be served through a posting on the door of the apartment.

How long does the eviction process take in Illinois?

In total, you can expect the eviction process in Illinois to take up to 90 days:

  • Rent demand or notice cure: Wait five or 10 days.
  • Summons and Complaint Served: You will usually have about 30 days to file a written appearance.
  • Wait for the eviction case: Usually 21-24 days. You will typically be provided a hearing date on your summons, for which you must appear in court.
  • Summary execution and removal: On the same day as the court date.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.