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An Illinois eviction notice is written notice drafted by the landlord or their agent, generally a property manager, and served on the tenant to inform them that have, in most cases, a certain number of days to correct the problem or vacate the property. An eviction notice is the first step in the legal eviction process. Known as a notice to quit, these notices must conform with Illinois landlord-lord tenant laws.
There are three main types of eviction notices used in Illinois: a 5-day eviction notice for non-payment of rent, a 5-day notice to quit for unlawful activity, and a 10-day notice for non-compliance. While they each have special components that must be included, we will first look at the common information included in all of them.
And let’s take just a moment to talk about service. Many Illinois landlord-tenant lawyers suggest that eviction notices be personally served. That means putting the eviction notice directly into the hands of the tenant. It can also be left with a member of the household who is at least 13 years old, or send it to the tenant via certified or registered mail. If the property appears to be abandoned, you can also leave a copy of the notice on the front door of the premises according to 735 ILCS 5/9-211.
5-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment of Rent
A 5-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent is used to notify a tenant in writing that they did not pay their rent on time. They have five days from the date the notice was issued to pay their rent or vacate the property. This eviction notice must conform to 735 ILCS 5/9-209.
A 5-day notice to quit for non-payment of rent should include the amount that the tenant must pay to retain possession of the property.
5-Day Notice to Quit for Unlawful Activity
A 5-day notice to quit for unlawful activity is a bit different from other Illinois eviction notices. It is for something that is known as an incurable violation. This means that the tenant isn’t being asked to correct anything. They are just being told to vacate the property. This eviction notice is governed by 740 ILCS 40/11 and 765 ILCS 705/5.
This eviction notice is used if, and only if, the landlord has actual evidence that unlawful activity has taken place on or around the rental property. This includes illegal drugs, illegal firearms, murder, or sexual assault.
The tenant does have the legal right to challenge this notice. If they elect to do so, a complaint and hearing must be scheduled within 14 days of the notice. If the tenant does not appear at the hearing, possession of the property is given to the landlord.
This Illinois eviction notice should mention the type of felony by class (for example, Class 1 felonies include criminal sexual assault, possession of certain drugs, burglary, drug trafficking, and child pornography or child trafficking. Class X felonies are considered the most serious. The notice should give the date by which the tenant should return possession of the property to the tenant.
10-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance
A 10-day notice to quit for non-compliance notifies the tenant that they’ve violated the lease in some way and that they have 10 days to correct the violation or vacate the property. This Illinois eviction notice is regulated by 735 ILCS 5/9-210.
This notice should include details on the violation that occurred and the date by which it must be corrected.
30-Day Notice for Lease Termination
A 30-day notice for lease termination isn’t an eviction notice. It acts in a similar fashion which is why it is included in our guide. It notifies the tenant that the landlord wants to regain possession of the property. This notice is used by a landlord to inform the tenant that their month-to-month tenancy will not be renewed. It is governed by 735 ILCS 5/9-207. This notice should include the date that the tenant should return the property to the landlord.
A landlord may not begin the court process without first serving the tenant with an eviction notice. Illinois eviction notices must contain certain information, as discussed in the last section. They must also list the proper number of days that the tenant must either correct the violation or leave the property. The exception, of course, is the 5-day notice for unlawful activity. The tenant is not being asked to correct a violation of the lease. They are being directed to vacate the property within 5 days.
Eviction notices must be legally served on the tenant. Most Illinois landlord-tenant lawyers suggest serving the tenant in person. Landlords may do it or they may hire a professional process server. The notice may be left with someone in the household who is over the age of 13 years. It may also be sent via certified mail. If the property appears abandoned, landlords may elect to post the notice on the front door of the property.
Not all evictions are legal. Landlords may not evict the tenant using self-help methods such as changing the locks, removing the property of the tenant, or turning off utilities unless the landlord has a court order. Landlords may not attempt to evict a tenant because the tenant reports them to the city or county for code violations that exist on the property. A landlord may not violate state or federal law and attempt to evict the tenant for discriminatory reasons.
Illinois tenants have rights. The Attorney General of the State of Illinois has an easy to understand PDF to help you understand your rights as well as your responsibilities under the state’s landlord-tenant law. If you receive an eviction notice, read it in full so that you understand why the notice was issued. Determine what you need to do to remedy the situation and the date by which you should take action. Those two elements, the reason for the eviction number and the number of days you have to correct the issue or vacate the property, should be part of the eviction notice. If you don’t understand the notice or if you have questions, you should first contact your landlord. Remember to remain calm during the conversation.
Landlords may not change the locks, remove your property from the unit, or turn off the utilities unless they have a court order. They cannot begin a lawsuit until you are first served with an eviction notice. Changing the locks, removing property, or turning off utilities are known as “self-help” methods of eviction. They are illegal without the court order previously mentioned. It is also illegal for the landlord to evict a tenant for reporting a code violation or for discrimination. If these happen to you, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the landlord.
A landlord-tenant lawyer can help you if you have an illegal eviction notice. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you have a couple of other options to get legal help. First, look for a law school near you. Sometimes, law schools have legal clinics that are ran by third-year law students. The students are able to gain beneficial experience while they are supervised by licensed attorneys. These clinics often help tenants by providing free or low-cost legal assistance. Second, look for a legal aid office in your area. They often have low-cost or free legal assistance programs for tenants. They may also have downloadable resources that you can use to help yourself.
Landlords must follow Illinois landlord-tenant law. If you’re a landlord, you should know that you cannot begin an eviction lawsuit against the tenant until you’ve first issued a properly drafted eviction notice that has the proper amount of notice. You may not change the locks, shut off the utilities, or remove the belongings of the tenant unless you get a court order. Self-help eviction methods are illegal in Illinois. If you use such methods, you could open yourself up to a lawsuit.
If you have questions about eviction notices or the eviction process, make an appointment to visit with a landlord-tenant lawyer to learn more about the laws of the state, your rights, and your legal obligations as a landlord.