In an Illinois “joint action” forcible entry and detainer case (ie. an eviction lawsuit asking for both rent due and possession), plaintiffs can plead for and judges routinely award plaintiffs a judgment against defendants for pro rata rent through the day of the eviction trial. Governor Quinn just signed into law HB 1209. The bill, effective as of January 1, 2012, allows a landlord plaintiff to include in an eviction complaint a request for the pro rata amount of rent due for any period that a judgment for possession is stayed. So, what does this mean?Until the effective date of the bill, a landlord can only receive rent through the date of trial. At an eviction trial, a judge will typically enter a “stay” of the judgment. That is, the landlord cannot bring the order for possession to the County Sheriff until the stay period is expired. The stay period exists, presumably, to allow the tenant defendant time to vacate before the Sheriff comes to move the tenant. After the law is in effect, a plaintiff can get rent for the stay period granted by the judge.
So, is this a boon for Illinois landlords? Probably not. It certainly helps, but, in Cook County, the stay period is, in most cases, a week or two. It usually takes the Sheriff anywhere from six to twelve weeks to come to get the tenant out. There is no relief for landlords during this period. In addition, many (most?) eviction judgments go uncollected. The tenants don’t have money to pay the rent, so they usually don’t have money to pay off a judgment. Mark this one down as a small victory for the landlord.