Landlord – Tenant Disputes

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Disputes between Landlord and Tenant often end up in Eviction Court.
The place to start is with your lease.

What is a lease?

A lease is an agreement to rent. Leases can be a written or oral (verbal) agreement about the terms of renting the property.

Most Verbal Leases are month to month–either party can end it by giving written notice at least one day before the rent is paid for the last month. Most Written Leases are for a year.

Is a Written Lease better than a Verbal Lease?

Yes. It is easy to verify the terms of a written lease if both landlord and tenant have a copy. A Verbal Lease depends on the recollections of both landlord and tenant. If they disagree, the landlord’s version is more likely to be believed.

Why is the Written Lease so long and hard to understand?

A good lease spells out all potential problems and how they will be handled and that makes them wordy. But if your landlord violates the terms of the written lease, you know that he’s wrong and what you can do about it.

If your lease is not specific about procedures to be used when problems arise, you need to follow the procedures specified in the landlord-tenant laws of the city or state.

What are the parts of a good Lease or Rental Agreement?

A Rental Agreement should include:
Specifics of the property being rented
How much the rent is and when it should be paid
Starting date
How long it lasts or ending date
Handling of security deposit if there is one
What landlord or tenant need to do to end the lease
How to extend the lease
Penalty for non-payment of rent
Repairs-Who is responsible and how to get them made
When the landlord can enter the apartment and what type of permission, or notice to you is needed
Any other promises made by you or the landlord

I’ve had a Verbal Lease and I want to terminate it next month. Can I just tell the landlord when I pay my rent?

No. You nee to give written notice at least one day before the rent is paid for the last month.

Why does it have to be written?

That’s what the law specifies.

I have a one-month security deposit. Can I skip paying the last month’s rent?

No. The security deposit will be returned to you after the landlord inspects the property to determine if there are repairs needed for damage (beyond normal wear and tear) that you made. Some examples would be permanently stained carpeting or stains on a wall that requires repainting.

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I got a 5 day eviction notice from my landlord. What does it mean?

It means you have 5 days to pay him the rent that you owe him or he’ll go to court to get an eviction order. See the resources listed below for more information.

I got a 10 day eviction notice from my landlord. What does it mean?

It means you violated the terms of the lease and, unless you fix the situation,he’ll go to court to get an eviction order. If your agreement includes “no pets” and you got a cat, you need to give the cat away and then convince the landlord to give you another chance. See the resources listed below for more information.

I got a 30 day eviction notice from my landlord. What does it mean?

If you have a month-to-month lease, it means he is telling you that he is ending the lease. See the resources listed below for more information.

What happens during an eviction?

After the time period is up, the landlord goes to court to file a lawsuit against you. You will receive a summons to appear in court once the lawsuit has been filed. You should go to court on the scheduled day–even if the judge says you have to move, he will usually give you another 7 to 21 days. See Eviction FAQs for specifics.

Your landlord needs to file the eviction order with the Cook County Sheriff’s department who will then schedule the eviction. The Sheriff’s personnel will escort you and your family off the premises. The landlord can then move all your property out and put it by the curb or alley. Evictions are cancelled in extreme weather conditions by court order.

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You can call us for a free phone consultation at (312) 558-9100 but we will need to be paid to represent you in court.

For Eviction information, visit the Illinois Legal Aid: Landlord Tenant Eviction
Notices
website. You have the option of “chatting” with someone to ask questions at their website.
If they give you bad advice, it is not our fault.

For Leasing an Apartment information, visit the Illinois Legal Aid: Leasing an Apartment website. You have the option of “chatting” with someone to ask questions at their website. If they give you bad advice, it is not our fault.

You can also call the Metropolitan Tenants Association Hotline at 773-292-4988 on Mondays through Fridays from 1 PM to 5 PM. If they give you bad advice, it is not our fault.