Illinois Eviction Process

By PropertyClub Team
May 30th 2023
When a tenant breaks the lease by failing to pay rent on time or violating other terms, the final straw is to initiate the eviction process. Although it can be frustrating, it helps to be as knowledgeable as possible about the process. Here is a step-by-step look at the eviction process in Illinois.

hash-markHow Long Does It Take to Evict a Tenant in Illinois?

Evicting a tenant in Illinois can take anywhere from two weeks to six months. The timeline depends on the reason for the eviction and whether or not the tenant decides to fight the case. In Illinois, landlords must give tenants a certain amount of notice before beginning the eviction proceedings, which varies depending on the tenant’s transgression. Be aware that the Chicago area has slightly different rules regarding eviction than the rest of Illinois, so it may take longer in Cook County. 

hash-markIllinois Eviction Timeline

Although the exact length of time depends on the reason for the eviction and how cooperative the tenant is willing to be, here is a general overview of the eviction timeline in Illinois. 

  • Notice Period: 5-30 days
  • Court Summons Issued: 1-3 Business days
  • Court Summons Served: 7-40 Business days
  • Court Ruling: 7 to 14 business days
  • Final Notice: 7 to 14 business days

hash-markHow to Evict a Tenant in Illinois

  1. Serve the Tenant Proper Notice
  2. File a Lawsuit With the Court
  3. Wait for the Tenant to Be Served
  4. Attend the Court Hearing
  5. Wait for the Eviction Order
  6. Call in the Sheriff if Necessary

1. Serve the Tenant Proper Notice

First, you’ll provide the tenant with written notice to either vacate the premises or you will move forward with the eviction process. Before serving the tenant, you should reach out and try to reach a settlement to avoid taking legal action. But in some instances, getting the court involved may be the only option. Use one of the documents below to begin the process:

  • 5-day notice to quit: If the tenant stops paying rent
  • 30-day notice to vacate: If there were no lease violations, but you simply don’t wish to continue hosting them as a tenant. 
  • 10-day notice to quit: If the tenant violates a lease other than non-payment or otherwise breaches their legal responsibilities.
  • 10-day notice to comply or vacate: In Cook County, landlords must give the tenant ten days to fix the problem or move out if there is a lease violation. They can stay in the unit as long as they remedy the issue within 10 days. 
  • 14-day notice to comply: In Cook County, if the tenant violates the health and safety standards or causes property damage, they can be served with a 14-day notice to comply and either fix the issue or leave the premises
  • 5-day notice to vacate: If the tenant commits illegal activity in the apartment that leads to a felony arrest or substantial destruction to the apartment, the landlord can serve a 5-day notice to vacate.

Also, note that Cook County has specific rules regarding how notices must be served. For instance, you must ensure all tenant names have the correct spelling and include the phrase “and all known occupants” on the notice.

2. File a Lawsuit with the Court

After you serve the proper notice and the tenant does not move out, the next step is to file a complaint in the circuit court and pay the filing fee. The tenant must then be served the summons and complaint by the sheriff, professional process server, or a third-party adult (18+) who is not part of the case. The tenant must also be served at least 3 days before the hearing (7 days in Cook County).

3. Wait for the Tenant to Be Served

Once the court issues the summons, the hearing will be scheduled within 7 to 40 business days. During that time, you will sit back and let the tenant be served while you wait for your court date. You should also begin building your case and compiling as much evidence as possible.

4. Attend the Court Hearing

At the court hearing, a judge will review all the necessary facts in the case. Be prepared with a copy of the lease agreement, any written notices or communications with the tenant, the complaint and summons, and any other evidence you’ve compiled. The judge will automatically rule in your favor if the tenant doesn’t show up, which is known as a default judgment.

5. Wait for the Eviction Order

The judge will review all the relevant details in the case and make their final judgment. They will likely rule in your favor if you have sound legal reasoning for evicting the tenant and the evidence to back it up. If the court decides you have just cause to remove the tenant, the judge will issue an eviction order, which gives the accused seven days to vacate the premises.

6. Call in the Sheriff if Necessary

If the tenant refuses to leave or there is illegal activity in the apartment, you may need to get the sheriff involved to remove them. Self-help evictions are illegal in Illinois, so you cannot forcibly remove the tenant on your own. Instead, you should call the police and have them handle it.

hash-markIllinois Eviction Process Bottom Line

Evicting a tenant is never easy, but as long as you follow the necessary protocol, you shouldn’t encounter too many issues. Just go through the proper channels and document everything to back up your case.

hash-markIllinois Eviction Process FAQ

Can Landlords Evict in Illinois Right Now?

Yes, landlords in Illinois can evict tenants right now. All covid pandemic halts to evictions have ended, so as long as the landlord provides the tenant with the proper notice to leave and then files a complaint with the local circuit court, they can begin the eviction process.  

How many days do you have to move out after eviction notice in Illinois?

Depending on the location of the court, you will have anywhere from 7 to 14 days to move out once the court has issued an eviction order. Although tenants engaging in illegal activity may be ordered to leave sooner.

What reasons can a landlord evict you for in Illinois?

A landlord can legally evict you for many different reasons in Illinois, including failure to pay rent, causing substantial damage to the unit, engaging in illegal activity in the apartment, smoking, keeping prohibited pets, and otherwise breaching the terms of the lease.