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LAW BLOG

Evictions in Illinois

The Lease.  There's a common misconception that if a lease is not in writing, then there is no lease. A residental lease is the agreement between the landlord and the tenant and it can be an oral agreement. For example, a verbal agreement to accept $500.00 a month to allow someone to stay in an apartment is an agreement to lease.  A written agreement outlines the terms of the agreement and makes it easier to prove a lease violation if there is a dispute. Both parties should sign and date the written contract and keep a copy. 

If you are a landlord or a tenant, it is important to know how to end the lease agreement.

  • Self-Termination. If there is a written agreement, it can have an end date specified. The tenant should move at the end of the lease, unless an additional agreement is made. 
  • Non-Payment of Rent. If the tenant does not pay rent as agreed, then the landlord must serve a notice to the tenant. The notice must give the tenant at lease five days to pay the past due rent. If the rent is not paid within the 5-day period, then the lease is terminated. 
  • Lease Violations. If the tenant violates a term of the lease agreement, then the lease can be terminated. The landlord must serve a notice which explains the lease violation and provides the tenant with ten days prior to vacate before a lawsuit can be filed. 
  • Periodic Tenancy Termination. An oral or written month-to-month lease agreement can be terminated by giving a 30-day notice. The tenant should give the notice when they intend to move and the landlord should give the notice if they want the tenant to move. The notice does not need to explain the reason the tenant wants to leave or is being asked to leave. 

These notices are given before the eviction case is filed. A court case can be filed after the tenancy has been terminated and the tenant has not moved out. A judge decides the issues of possession, rent due, and time to move. The sheriff enforces the court order.   

Some courthouses have form orders that can be used to terminate a tenancy. A lawyer can draft a proper notice, advise on proper service, and they are useful in navigating the court system. This process can be intimidating and an attorney can help save you time and money.