February Makes One Think

UPDATE:  Click here for what happens in a leap year!

A 28 day month can cause all sorts of confusion for landlords.  One of the most common methods of terminating a tenancy is the use of a landlord’s thirty day notice.  This notice is used to terminate a written or oral month-to-month lease.

The thirty day notice is a strange animal.  Like all of Illinois eviction law, the requirements of a thirty day notice are strict. The law for a 30 day notice can be found in 735 ILCS 5/9‑207 as follows:

In all cases of tenancy for any term less than one year, other than tenancy from week to week, where the tenant holds over without special agreement, the landlord may terminate the tenancy by 30 days’ notice, in writing, and may maintain an action for forcible entry and detainer or ejectment.

A thirty day notice must be served at least thirty days in advance of the end of the next full tenancy period.  For a tenant who rents from the first to the last day of any given month, this means that the notice must specify that the tenancy will terminate on the last day of the month.  This also means (sorry to be repetitive) that a notice that does not list the last day of the rental period will be invalid.  Many landlords mess up the notice by inserting the first day of the next month or by inserting a random date that is thirty or more days after the date the notice is served.  These methods are incorrect and an eviction case based upon such a notice is likely to be thrown out of court.

So what does that have to do with February?  Well, if a notice must be served at least thirty days in advance of the end of the next full tenancy period, then a notice to terminate a tenancy as of the end of February must be served by January 29, 2011.  In months with 30 days, the notice must be served on or before the last day of the month prior to termination.  In months with 31 days, the notice must be served on or before the first day of the month of termination.

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