Am I eligible for legal aid services?
You are eligible for our free housing legal aid services if you live in North suburban Cook County or Lake County and meet our requirements for financial need. Clients must have a household income less than 250% of the federal poverty level. Victims of domestic violence have no income barrier when seeking aid. Unsure whether you qualify? Contact our office and an intake specialist will help determine if you are eligible for our services.
How do I apply for legal aid?
You can either do so online by clicking the Schedule a Consultation link below or by calling us at (847) 737-4042. An intake specialist will help determine if you meet our eligibility requirements and are facing an issue we can help with. If so, they will schedule you for a housing consultation with an attorney. Our team speaks both English and Spanish. Should you need assistance in another language, we can connect using interpretation services.
Preparing for your intake:
A housing attorney will call you at your scheduled time for your housing consultation, which typically lasts 30-60 minutes. We recommend that you find a private and quiet space to take the call as this will make it easier for our attorneys to assist you.
During the consultation, housing attorneys will ask a variety of questions about you and your housing concern. For this process to go smoothly, we ask that you have paperwork on hand that relates to your housing concern. This may include the following:
- Your lease
- Any notice of termination (e.g. 5-day Notice, 10-day Notice) you have received
- Court documents such as an eviction summons and complaint
- Communications with landlord or management about the housing issue
- Photos or documentation of unsafe conditions or damage to the property
What if NSLAC can’t help with my case?
If it turns out that we cannot assist in your case, we often provide referrals to other legal aid organizations or outside resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm having trouble paying my rent, what can I do?
Talk to your landlord or property manager right away if you are having trouble paying rent. You may be able to work out an agreement to pay your rent late or set up a payment plan; be sure to document these communications with your landlord in writing. Look into rental assistance options and reach out to NSLAC.
I have lived in my apartment for 10 years. The landlord just told me she won’t renew my lease and didn’t even say why. Can she do that?
Yes, as long as your landlord gives you proper notice private renters do not have a right for their lease to be renewed, no matter how long they have lived there. A landlord does not have to specify why it is that they won’t renew your lease.
I just got a notice of termination from my landlord, saying I have five days to pay my overdue rent, or I’ll be evicted. What do I do?
If you can, pay your overdue rent within the five days and keep proof of payment. If you are not able to do so, call NSLAC and we can advise you of your options. You do NOT have to move out after five days because a notice from your landlord is only the first step in the eviction process. Your landlord must file an eviction case in court. Only the Sheriff can enforce an eviction after a Judge has entered an eviction order.
Can you help people who are undocumented?
Yes, NSLAC can assist clients, no matter their immigration status. If you have questions about immigration, we can also refer you to NSLAC’s Immigration Law Practice.
If my landlord files an eviction case against me, will that be on my record?
Yes, eviction cases are public records, so even the filing of an eviction can seriously affect your ability to find new housing. Landlords often run background checks on potential tenants, and a background check may show court records from prior evictions. If a money judgment is entered against you in an eviction, this may show up on a credit report. It is sometimes possible to get your eviction sealed so it is no longer visible to the public. Call NSLAC to find out if sealing is an option for you.
I have a question that isn’t listed here. How can I get more information?
Please give us a call at (847) 737-4042 or email Info@NSLegalAid.org and we will do our best to assist you.