Are we mean? A quick word to tenants in residential evictions

landlord businessJust a little while back, I received a particularly nasty comment on this blog from a reader who accused me of ignoring the plight of Chicago’s tenants. The poster commented:

“I personally think you SUCK! These people are desparate (sic) and need help. All tenants are’nt (sic) bad. You and your landlord, self righteous bull. These people need direction not I don’t represent tenants crap!”.

The commenter went on to suggest that I provide advice for “these greedy, sex hungry,greedy (sic) landlords”.  The comment rants further on and on and ends with a few ad hominem attacks.  Ouch!

Unfortunately, as Abraham Lincoln said, you can’t please all of the people all of the time!  Well, the commenter is right about one thing.  We don’t usually represent residential tenants in evictions (commercial evictions and special circumstances are a different story).  With rare exception, our firm represents landlords in residential eviction cases. (By the way, Landlords are not monsters either.)  It is hard to be a landlord in Illinois and especially in Chicago.  Part of our practice is helping landlords comply with the law (tenant’s rights folks should be pretty happy that there are attorneys out there helping landlords get into compliance, right?).

In addition, it is true that a part of our practice includes representation of tenants who have claims against landlords under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance.  However, we very rarely take on residential eviction defense work.  More to the point though is the fact that a blog cannot be all things to all people.  This blog is a landlord-oriented look at evictions and other legal matters related to landlords.  (we actually have a website that has a more balanced focus on landlords and tenants and their rights under the CRLTO, state, and other law).

I can not deny it though, when it comes to residential evictions, we are a landlord’s firm.  Some attorneys represent mostly landlords.  Some attorneys represent mostly tenants.  Some attorneys represent both.  Just like some divorce attorneys represent mostly men or mostly women.  There’s no right or wrong – it just is.  Our firm generally helps just landlords.

Is that to say that tenant’s don’t need help or that landlords are always right?  Not at all.  Luckily for tenants, there are many tenant-side attorneys out there (not to mention legal aid clinics and not-for-profit legal service providers) who will gladly represent a tenant in an eviction defense.  In fact, I know many fine attorneys in this town, some who I consider to be good friends, who work primarily on the tenant’s side.  I appreciate the challenges tenants encounter when faced with a bad or ignorant landlord (hence some of the tenant representation we take on) and I believe all parties should have some access to representation in an eviction.

However, for any tenants reading this, kindly keep in mind that this blog is about landlords, for landlords, and geared towards landlords.  Of course we do not give advice to tenants here!

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5 Responses to Are we mean? A quick word to tenants in residential evictions

  1. Gene says:

    After an order of possession and a judgement for 6 months rents plus costs equelling over 6k how can a landlord collect the money . is a service available that will try and collect on a commision basis . Tenant was and is gainfully employed and i have the employers address but not the new address of course . Tenant just secided not to pay and used excuse door bell didnt ring and front door screen was loose … Managed to get 7 continuences at daley center and has done this before to a previous landlord but lied on application .

    • Richard Magnone says:

      After getting a judgment, there are a number of collection procedures available to a landlord (wage garnishment, non-wage garnishment, citation to discover assets, etc.). We do not handle collections on a contingency basis but there may be firms who might.

  2. Naive Landlord says:

    It is good to know that there is somebody in chicago who represent landlord.

    We are the first time landlords who got stuck with a very bad tenant. It was not apparent in the beginning but as soon as he moved in, started acting up. The only good thing is he is out now but we are paying for our ignorance. As you say, there is no excuse for ‘not knowing’. The housing market is still not good, HOA makes it impossible to rent and so you are stuck with the mortgage. There are lawyers who are waiting for a tenant to just ‘make’ a lawsuit. One of the lawyer’s site actually lists proudly that they ‘made up’ one point on the lawsuit. There is no penalty for such open admission of fraud by a man of law. Lawyers threatening and trying to settle quickly because they know that they get a 3rd of the settlement which is fast money. Lawyers actually admitting clearly that the money is with landlords so it is best to represent tenant to get some of that easy money. All you need is angry tenant and that anger can come from his personal problem, all he is looking for is money.

  3. Angie says:

    Hi I have a roommate that hasn’t paid rent in 5months I started the eviction process and he showed up with an attorney who now is trying to sue me for over $5000 saying according to my lease I violated all these rights under the residential landlord tenant ordinance however I thought that doesn’t apply when Him and I are roommates in a single family home. They have filed for extensions for discovery and know that I can not afford an attorney to fight this for me and are asking for a settlement of $2500 which feels like extortion being that this ordinance I’m being sued for shouldn’t apply to me and that I cannot afford an attorney as to which I cannot fight a fair trial. What are my options???

    • Richard Magnone says:

      Angie, you definitely need to get yourself some legal counsel. This is an extremely serious situation. While we don’t represent landlords who have already filed their case, there are many who do. You can also seek out assistance from public interest lawyers such as Chicago Volunteer Legal Services and Legal Assistance Foundation, among others.

      You did not specify where the property is or what laws are being violated. Certainly, some laws exclude certain landlords (for instance, owner occupied buildings of 6 or fewer units are excluded from the CRLTO), but I don’t have enough facts to evaluate your situation (and, as we don’t represent you, I can’t provide legal advice) other than to suggest you consult (QUICKLY) with an attorney to learn and protect your rights. Best of luck.