What Is an Eviction? Illinois Tenant Rights and Legal Resources.

What is an Eviction? Illinois Tenant Rights and Legal Resources.

The term “Eviction” can strike fear and uncertainty among tenants. However, understanding the intricacies of evictions, tenants’ rights, and the resources available can empower individuals to navigate these challenging situations more effectively. 

What is the eviction process in Illinois? 

An eviction is a court process that can result in terminating a tenant's right to live in a home. Landlords initiate evictions through a legal process to reclaim possession of their property. For an eviction to be legal, landlords must follow the eviction process as set out in Illinois Tenant Rights law. Landlords cannot forcibly remove tenants without following this legal procedure. The eviction process begins with a landlord serving a written notice to the tenant detailing the reasons for eviction. Following this, the landlord must file a case in court. It is only after a judge issues an eviction order can the Sheriff’s office, enforce the eviction. 

What are the reasons for a legal eviction in Illinois? 

In certain situations, landlords may have legal grounds to initiate an eviction. These include when a tenant does not pay rent or violates the terms of their lease agreement. Examples of lease violations include having a pet in a no-pet property, housing unauthorized individuals, disruptive behavior, or repeated noise complaints. 

When am I protected against an eviction?  

Landlords cannot evict a tenant for asserting their rights such as requesting that the landlord make repairs. A landlord also cannot discriminate against a tenant because of their immigration status, their disability, or their source of income.   

What are my rights during eviction in Illinois? 

Tenants have rights during the eviction process, including the right to raise defenses and the right to a fair trial. Tenants should be aware of these rights and seek legal counsel promptly when faced with an eviction notice.  

What should I do if I receive an eviction notice in Illinois? 

If a tenant receives an eviction notice, it is imperative not to self-evict. Tenants should contact a housing attorney as soon as possible. Eviction can happen swiftly and seeking assistance early can make a significant difference in the outcome. Evictions can have serious lasting consequences for a tenant, including becoming part of public records, winding up on background checks, and potentially impacting future housing opportunities. Once an eviction case is filed, it is public record and remains so even if the eviction case is dismissed or settled. To mitigate these effects, renters can sometimes have evictions sealed. NSLAC's housing legal practice stands ready to assist and support individuals facing eviction challenges.  

If you or someone you know is facing an eviction or housing issues in north suburban Cook County, IL, or Lake County, IL, please call NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status. NSLAC also offers free legal services in the areas of immigration and domestic violence.

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