1. Home »
  2. How to Evict a Tenant (in all 50 States!) »
  3. How to Evict a Tenant in Illinois (7 Steps)

How to Evict a Tenant in Illinois (7 Steps)

A landlord may evict a tenant in Illinois for nonpayment of rent, non-compliance of the lease agreement, illegal activity on the property, or choosing to end a month-to-month tenancy. In each instance, the process begins with delivering eviction notices before pursuing legal action in the Local Circuit Court

Laws – 735 ILCS 5 (Code of Civic Procedure)

How to Evict

Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice 

Tenants must be given one of the following proper notices before the landlord proceeds with a court filing.

  • Non-Payment of Rent (5-Day Notice) If a tenant has failed to pay rent on time, the landlord may demand payment with a 5-Day Notice to Quit in writing. If they do not pay the rent due within the time period, the landlord considers the lease ended.1
  • Unlawful Activity (5-Day Notice)A lease can be voided by any act constituting a felony or Class A misdemeanor in the state of Illinois committed by a tenant on the premises.2 The landlord must note the specific violation on the eviction notice.3 Felonies include, but are not limited to:4
    • Aggravated kidnapping
    • Aggravated battery with a firearm
    • Aggravated battery of a child
    • Home invasion
    • Aggravated criminal sexual assault
    • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
    • Armed robbery
    • Aggravated vehicular hijacking
    • Aggravated arson
    • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver
  • Non-Compliance (10-Day Notice to Quit)The 10-Day Notice to Quit is used to notify a tenant they have violated a specific term in their lease agreement. The tenant may be given an option to cure within the notice period.5
  • Foreclosure (90-Day Notice) – If the property is being foreclosed upon, the landlord must allow the tenants 90 days to remain on the property and find alternate housing.6
  • Month-to-Month (30-Day Notice to Quit) If a landlord wishes to end a month-to-month tenancy, they must give 30 days’ notice for that tenant to leave the property.7

Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant  

Once notice has been given to the tenant, they have the full notice period to respond to the landlord or directly cure the cause for eviction. 

If the notice period passes without a response or cure, the landlord may move to the Local Circuit Court for further legal action, but the landlord may not engage in “self-help” practices, which are any attempts to forcibly remove the tenant themselves, like changing the locks.8

Step 3: File In Court 

Three copies of a Summons and Complaint will be filed with the local circuit court: one for the court, one for the landlord’s records, and one for the sheriff, who will then be ordered to serve the tenant. 

Step 4: Serve the Tenant 

A copy of the Summons must be brought to the sheriff or process server, who will serve the tenant. If the tenant wishes to contest the eviction, they can counter by filing an Answer Form at the Circuit Court. 

If the tenant isn’t present when the sheriff attempts to serve a summons, they may leave a copy of the court documents with any member of the family or person residing there who is 13 years or older. In this case of substitutive service, a copy of the summons will also be mailed and addressed to the defendant (the tenant).11

Step 5: Attend a Trial 

If the tenant responds with an Answer to the court, a day in court will be scheduled. Common eviction defenses in Illinois include, but are not limited to:12

  • Disputing the actual amount of rent that has been paid or is owed
  • That the tenant either attempted to pay rent or did pay rent within the eviction notice period
  • The eviction notice does not contain the required information or the notice was delivered improperly, such as the landlord simply posting an eviction notice on the door.13 This will call for a motion to dismiss
  • The tenant did not violate the lease agreement
  • The landlord failed to maintain the property, did not make requested repairs, or disconnected utilities

 Step 6: Obtain an Eviction Order

If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff (the landlord), the defendant (the tenant) will be ordered to leave the property and an Eviction Order, or Order for Possession issued. The judge will specify a date in which the tenant must vacate and the landlord may not take any actions of their own to repossess the property. 

Step 7: Repossess the Property 

If the tenant hasn’t moved out by the deadline issued by the judge, the landlord will file the Eviction Order with the local sheriff’s office for enforcement. The sheriff may execute the order as soon as 24 hours after it has been received, notifying the tenant just once that their eviction has been placed on the schedule to be enforced.14

Video: Evictions in Illinois


  1. 735 ILCS 5/9-209
  2. 735 ILCS 5/9-120
  3. 765 ILCS 705/5
  4. https://andrewnickel.com/felony-illinois/
  5. Chicago RLTO §5-12-130(b)/ Evanston RLTO §5-3-6-1(A)
  6. 735 ILCS 5/9-207.5
  7. 735 ILCS 5/9-207
  8. 765 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 735/1.4
  9. http://williammazurlaw.com/flat-fee-services/practice-itemstenant-evictions/how-long-does-it-take-to-evict-a-tenant/
  10. https://eforms.com/eviction/il/
  11. https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/courts/civil-services/eviction-procedure-defendants-guide/
  12. https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/common-eviction-defenses
  13. https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/motion-dismiss-landlord-posted-eviction-notice-door
  14. https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/courts/civil-services/eviction-procedure-defendants-guide/