First District Cook County Illinois eviction “worse case scenario” timeline

Daley Center Cook County Courthouse (c) Magnone 2011In August, I wrote about the “best case scenario” timeline for a first district Cook County eviction.  This post is about the opposite side of the process or what I call the “worse case scenario”.  That’s not a typo.  I mean “worse”, not “worst”.  I don’t think I have seen the system at its worst yet.  The eviction practice has taught me that I have not seen close to everything.

So, I want to talk here about the worse case scenario.  This is a scenario for an eviction for nonpayment of rent with what some landlords might call “the tenant from hell” but that I would call an eviction with a tenant who knows how the system works.  This scenario is just an example of how bad things can be.  I could actually think of things that are much worse (counterclaims, bankruptcies, etc.) that would add even more time and money to the process.

The worse case scenario starts much like the best case scenario – with the service of a five day notice and the filing of an eviction lawsuit.

Next is where the two paths differs.  Instead of the Sheriff serving the tenant with a copy of a summons and complaint, the Sheriff makes his attempts but is unsuccessful and returns service as “not found”.  After this, a landlord must find a means for service, usually by way of appointing a special process server to serve the defendant.  This will cost a landlord about an additional two weeks of time and some expense to a private process server.

Assuming the process server gets service on the tenant, there will be an initial hearing.  In this scenario, instead of having a hearing, the defendant asks the court for and is granted a short continuance.  This means coming back one week later.  On the return date, the tenant really drops a bomb by filing a jury demand.  This simple action gets the tenant another week continuance and the case is transferred to the jury trial call and a new judge.

When the parties come to court on the jury trial call, the court enters a “routine order” giving the defendant time to file a formal answer to the complaint and to initiate discovery and grants a continuance for status in about 35 days.  On that continuance date, assuming discovery is complete and there are no other dispositive motions to deal with, the judge will set a date for a jury trial.  The date granted depends on the judge’s schedule, the complexity of the case, and the schedule of the parties.  It can often be two to three months in the future.

Assuming that the jury trial results in the issuance of an order for possession, the judge will stay the enforcement of that order for one or two weeks.  After that, the plaintiff can place the order with the Sheriff to execute.  Right now, I am hearing that it is only taking four to six weeks for the Sheriff to process an eviction order, however, in the winter or when the Sheriff is backed up, it can take as long as ten or twelve weeks.

This is just one example of how long the process can take and it could be worse.  Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

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10 Responses to First District Cook County Illinois eviction “worse case scenario” timeline

  1. Mike says:

    Hi. I live in Illinois (Cook County). My condo was auctioned in July and I received a Confirmation of Sale and an Order of Possession dated Aug 31st that I had 30 days from the date. It is now mid-October and I still have not been contacted by a bank representative/realtor about Cash for Keys (or for anything for that matter). I understand C4Ks is a voluntary program offered by some banks, but will I hear something or receive any kind of notice before I am evicted?

    Also, what does it mean when they ‘place’ the order of possession with the sheriff? I guess my question is do I get some kind of notice.

    Thanks for your help! By the way, my mortgage was through Citimortgage

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Mike, our firm does not represent any banks who foreclose loans in eviction related matters, so I can’t comment on whether or not any particular bank has a procedure for paying “cash for keys”. I can say that it is possible that after a Plaintiff places an Order for Possession with the Sheriff for execution, that the Sheriff can come out seemingly unannounced and dispossess you of the property. Except for security deposit return situations under the CRLTO, our firm does not handle tenant-side matters and I don’t have enough facts to provide you with any legal advice. My best suggestion is that you contact a tenant’s rights or foreclosure defense attorney as soon as possible to protect any rights you may have.

  2. nina says:

    How do I find out the current time it takes for Sheriff to serve tenant with the copy of a summons and complaint. (This is step2 after the landlord has given 5 day notice) Is it done the same day or does it take weeks? MANY MANY THANKS!!!

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Generally, for 1st district (downtown) cases in Cook County, we take a return date that is 2-3 weeks into the future. The Sheriff has until one week before the court date to try to get the notice served. If the Sheriff is unsuccessful, it is common to go back to court on the return date to have a special process server appointed and an alias summons issued.

      As for the Sheriff’s actual procedures, I can’t speak as to their internal process.

  3. AverageMan says:

    When an eviction case goes to a jury trial, does the judge or the jury set the possession date?

    Also, if the possession date is – for example – 14 days after the jury trial ends, can the landlord place the eviction request with the Sheriff before the 14 days have passed?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Typically, the judge will set the time for the stay. The order can not be placed with the Sheriff prior to the expiration of the stay.

  4. Nickki says:

    When tenant files motion extent to stay, usually how long the judge will let them out? It is immediately or couple of weeks? Thank you

  5. Lindsay says:

    My boyfriend just got served the 5 day notice…I’m not on the lease so my name isn’t on it, just his. It also doesn’t say “and all other occupants”, but I’ve been there for more than 3 months and receive mail there. My question is, will there have to be a separate eviction for me as well?

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Lindsay – we do not represent tenants. I cannot assist you with this. Evictions are a very serious matter. Contact a tenant’s rights attorney at once to learn and protect your rights.