A quick thought about nonpaying tenants and their leases

I talk to a lot of landlords with tenants who are behind in rent.  Sometimes, when I do, I feel like I keep singing the same tune.  “Evictions are costly.  Illinois Forcible entry cases take a long time.  Try to work something out before you hire me.”

Then it comes… The landlord tells me that despite the fact that the tenant is two, six, or ten month’s behind in rent, the lease will be ending in 60, 90, or 120 days and maybe the landlord will “just wait for the tenant to leave”.  I hear this on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of a single reason to believe that a non-paying tenant will actually obey the obligation to yield up possession of a rental property at the end of the lease term.  The tenant is openly refusing to pay rent!  Why would that tenant move out at the end of the lease?  In fact, the landlord’s inaction is probably enough to strengthen the tenant’s resolve to remain in the rental unit.  These tenants are unlikely to move.

Of course, that’s easy for me to say.  I recognize that it is much harder to work a deal with a tenant than it sounds.  Nonetheless, landlords with tenants stubbornly retain possession of a rental property without paying rent need to act.  Whether that action is the service of a notice of nonpayment of rent (and subsequent eviction action) or an attempt to cut a deal with the tenant, a landlord cannot just sit idly by hoping for the day the tenant will voluntarily vacate their free digs.  That day is a rare day indeed.

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