Eviction moratorium ends in Illinois, process more complex than many think

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois’ eviction moratorium ended this past week meaning evictions of renters behind on rent can resume throughout the state.

But, there are certain rules and laws landlords must follow before throwing someone out onto the streets.

After more than a year of renters not risking homelessness, landlords can resume the eviction process on tenants who owe them rent after Governor Pritzker’s moratorium expired on Sunday.

Now, renters must pay rent or risk being evicted.

“I know of several landlords in the community that have a dozen properties and half their tenants aren’t paying them,” said Ryan Curtis, a landlord and treasurer of the McLean County Landlord’s Assocaition.

Curtis said landlords are running a business and when there’s a loss of income it hurts their bottom line as well as risks foreclosure on the property from the banks.

“Quite frankly the last thing a landlord wants to do is evict somebody and go through the whole process,” Curtis said. “Normally landlords, we’re in the business to collect rent, that’s why we bought these properties; for us its a business and provide safe, affordable housing for people.”

Curtis also said without the full income of rent payments, some landlords are unable to keep up properties in order to have enough money to pay mortgages.

“As far as I know, you can start the process and go through it,” Curtis said.

According to local attorney Joe Pioletti, the eviction process must be followed to a tee before anyone is asked to leave a property.

“Your landlord has to give you proper notice on how much you’re behind, and a certain amount of time to cure whatever amount you’re behind before they can file an eviction petition,” Pioletti said.

Under Illinois law, a landlord must give a tenant five days notice to evict someone for unpaid rent and 10 days to evict someone who’s a danger or is doing something illegal on the property. If landlords do this, Pioletti said they have a good chance of winning their case.

“You have to make sure the evidence is appropriate and that the landlord carries their burden of proof and if they’re able to do that then they can succeed in getting someone evicted,” Pioletti said.

Pioletti said his office offers solutions and help to those that are being evicted including filing for bankruptcy.

“Either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 repayment plan will stop the eviction process and allow people time to payback rent and ultimately allow them to stay in their housing,” Pioletti said.

But, even if an eviction is approved by a judge, Curtis said a landlord can’t physically remove someone themselves from the property.

“The tenant technically doesn’t have to leave, and you can’t make them leave. You can’t go over there and change the locks or turn off the water. That’s highly illegal, so you have to have a sheriff go in and physically evict them if they don’t leave on their own free will,” Curtis said.

Curtis and Pioletti said evictions are usually the last step any landlords want to go through because court costs can add up. Curtis said in most cases, landlords will work out a repayment plan with their tenants.

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