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Legal Guidance for Property Owners in Cook County and Surrounding Areas

As a property owner or landlord, you likely wish to protect your property interests. Some tenants fail to pay rent or violate a lease agreement. This may be very detrimental to ownership interests if you bought the property in question as an investment. You may need to evict a tenant who breaches the lease, falls behind in rent, or uses the property for illegal activities. However, you need to make sure that your eviction of a tenant is legal. At Jutla Legal, our Cook County eviction lawyer may be able to help you with this process. We also represent property owners, real estate investors, banks, and lenders with their evictions in Lake County, DuPage County, Kane County, and McHenry County, Illinois.

Pursuing an Eviction

The first step of an eviction is to terminate the tenancy. You can evict a tenant with whom you have a written lease for cause; there are certain reasons that constitute cause. For example, you may lawfully evict a tenant for failing to pay rent or failing to pay it on time. You may also file an eviction if your tenant refuses to vacate after a lease expires. It can be helpful to try to work things out with your tenant prior to starting the formal eviction process. You should not try to forcibly evict your tenant by cutting off utilities or changing the locks.

You do not have cause to evict under certain circumstances. For instance, you cannot evict your tenant because he or she left the property for a period due to domestic violence. You cannot evict a tenant because of a protected characteristic, such as national origin, race, color, or disability.

Month-to-Month Tenancies

You do not need cause to evict a tenant for an unwritten, month-to-month lease. Even so, you must provide the tenant with a 30-day notice. The notice should state that the tenant has 30 days to move out of the rental, and the tenancy will be terminated at the end of that period. An eviction attorney in Cook County or the surrounding areas can help ensure that you meet the notice requirements.

Fixed-Term Leases

You should be aware that if you signed a fixed-term lease with your tenant and do not have cause, you will need to wait until the tenancy is over before taking action. For example, if you signed a one-year lease with a tenant, and he or she pays the rent on time and abides by the lease, you need to wait for the year to end before doing anything. Moreover, it is important to be aware of what the rental agreement says; for instance, if it requires you to provide written notice to the tenant at the end of the term if you want the tenant to move, you will need to provide the proper notice to the tenant.

Steps of an Eviction

You will need to take certain steps to evict a tenant. The type of tenancy and the reason for the eviction will guide the steps that you take. Even when an eviction is justified, a tenant may fight it, and you should use appropriate procedures for the situation.

If the cause of the eviction is that a tenant is not paying rent, you should issue a five-day notice to pay rent or quit. The notice lets the tenant know the amount that is past due and must be paid in full, as well as the date by which it should be paid in full. If the tenant does not pay the amount due, you can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit with the assistance of a Cook County eviction attorney. This must be filed in the county where the rental unit is situated. For example, if the rental unit is located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, then your eviction attorney must file your eviction complaint in Cook County.

Once the lawsuit is filed, a legal notice will be issued by the Sheriff’s Office. You will need to appear in court to establish that you served the tenant with the notice and complaint and that you are entitled to evict them. If you win in court, you can obtain a written order of possession from the court. You may be entitled to any outstanding rent, along with damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees. The tenant will have a certain amount of time to pack and move before the physical eviction. You can then file an order of possession with the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is allowed to forcibly remove the tenant from the premises at that point.

If a tenant’s lease violation is the cause of the eviction, you will need to serve a 10-day notice to vacate. The notice should specify your intent and explain why you are terminating the lease agreement, and it should state that the tenant has 10 days to move from the rental unit. You do not need to provide a time frame within which the tenant can correct the lease violation. When a tenant does not move in 10 days, you can terminate the tenancy, file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, and pursue the matter in court for a written order of possession.

Violations of Law

You are entitled to evict a tenant who sells, possesses, or uses illegal controlled substances on the premises of your property. You will need to provide a five-day unconditional quit notice that lets the tenant know that he or she has five days to depart from the rental unit. Once those five days have expired, you can file a lawsuit to evict the tenant.

Consult an Experienced Eviction Lawyer in Cook County

It is crucial to handle the eviction of a tenant appropriately. Failing to take the proper steps — such as locking a tenant out or taking matters into your own hands — can have adverse consequences. If you are concerned about performing an eviction in Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Libertyville, Barrington, Vernon Hills, Waukegan, Gurnee, or Chicago, or elsewhere in Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Kane County, or McHenry County, Illinois, you should consult Jutla Legal at 847-305-3034 or complete our online form.

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