When I talk to landlords about the Illinois eviction process, one of their first questions is “how long”? The easy answer is as follows: long. I wish that were not the case, but it is the truth. The process is not as fast, convenient, or easy as any landlord would like it to be. I thought it might be instructive to demonstrate the timeline for a Cook County Illinois eviction using the example of a nonpaying Chicago tenant.This example assumes that the case is filed in the first district (initial court dates in the other districts are usually later than the dates provided for cases filed downtown) and assumes that the tenant’s lease does not require anything more than the service of a five day notice for nonpayment of rent.
As the timeline demonstrates, the first step is to serve the five day notice. This can be a difficult task if the tenant is evading service or hard to find. Once the notice is served, the landlord can start counting the five days. Assuming the fifth day is not a weekend or holiday, the landlord can file an eviction suit at the Daley Center on the next day. When filed, the court will give the plaintiff an initial court date usually two to three weeks into the future.
Once the suit is filed, the landlord places copies of the summons and complaint with the Sheriff of Cook County for service on the defendant. Yes – the tenant needs to be served a second time! This gives the defendant notice of the court action. If the Sheriff is successful in making timely service, then, something will happen at the initial court date.
Again, let’s assume a best case scenario. The tenant either fails to show up or there is a bench trial in front of the judge and an order for possession is entered in favor of the Plaintiff landlord. The judge will then “stay” the enforcement of that order for at least one week and possibly longer.
Once the stay period expires, the landlord can place the order for possession with the Cook County Sheriff to be executed. I have spoken at length about how long it is taking the Sheriff to go out and execute an eviction order. A few weeks back, we were hearing as long as twelve weeks. but I have recently had an eviction processed in a much shorter time frame of about eight weeks. There’s no telling how long the Sheriff will take.
As a result, right now, a Chicago eviction for nonpayment of rent with no problems or delays is estimated to take between 85 to 122 days. In a few days, I will write about all of the delays that can take that best case eviction and turn it into a difficult eviction.