Illinois Eviction Law

Posted by Christopher Berkompas in Illinois

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice.

What qualifies as a valid legal cause for a landlord to evict a tenant?

Several different reasons will justify the landlord in undertaking eviction proceedings against a tenant in the state of Illinois.  The most common of these are as follows:

  • The tenant fails to pay rent when it is due.  However, if the tenant habitually pays late, and the landlord has always accepted it, the court might find that the date of payment has been changed.  In that case, the tenant could only be evicted if they pay even later than usual.
  • The tenant stays on the premises after the lease has expired.
  • Violating the lease in a way which the lease provides eviction as a penalty.
  • Failing to fix situations which materially affect health or safety when the landlord gives him notice to do so.

What are the steps involved in performing an eviction?

First, the landlord must serve the tenant with a written notice that he will seek to evict the tenant, or that the lease will come to an end at a certain time.  There are a significant number of rules and regulations surrounding this notice, the substance of which are summarized below:

  • It must describe the premises
  • It must be delivered to the tenant, with a certificate of receipt
  • It can only ask for the amount of rent that was actually due
  • For failing to pay rent, it must be given at least 5 days in advance
  • To terminate a month-to-month tenancy without reasons, it must be given 30 days in advance

After the notice has been served, the tenant has that period of time to attempt to reconcile with the landlord or leave the premises.  If he does neither, the landlord may then proceed with an eviction lawsuit with the court.

The court will hold a hearing, after which it will make a decision.  If it decides to evict the tenant, the landlord will be given an order of possession which will authorize the local sheriff to forcibly evict the tenant if he refuses to comply with the court's order.  In addition, he may also be able to get a court order forcing the tenant to pay the back rent.

The court will almost always give a "stay of enforcement" along with the order of possession, to prevent the landlord from acting immediately, and thereby to give the tenant time to move.  If the tenant is still there when the time is up, the landlord may request the local sheriff to forcibly remove him.


Are landlords required to give tenants the opportunity to remedy the cause for eviction in the event that they can do so by making repairs or paying damages? If so, how long do they have to fix the problem?

Yes, the tenant must have the opportunity to remedy the situation.  He usually has the amount of time between the giving of the notice and the start of eviction proceedings to try to remedy the situation.

Do the rules surrounding eviction differ at all for government subsidized housing programs?

A tenant in public housing has significantly more protections than one in private housing from eviction.  Please see for further details.

Can a tenant be evicted for having a roommate?

If a landlord does not authorize the presence of a roommate, this may be sufficient grounds for eviction, especially if it is in violation of the lease.

Can landlords legally deduct legal fees and court costs from the security deposit?

No.  A court can order the tenant to pay these fees, but the security deposit can only legally be used to repair damage to the property, or against back rent.

What happens when a tenant wins an eviction case that goes to court?

He may remain in possession of the premises until the end of the lease term, when the landlord may seek to lawfully terminate the lease if he wishes.


  1. Illinois Property Law
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