5 day Landlord notice
Once you decide that the tenant is not going to pay you without being forced to pay you, then you need to begin preparing eviction forms.
In Illinois, the first step in the eviction process is giving the tenant the 5 day landlord notice, sometimes referred to as an EVICTION LETTER.
Some states may require a 7 day eviction notice. Free eviction notice forms, or sample eviction letters, are available here on the bottom of this page.
There are limits on who can legally serve eviction documents.
Fortunately, anybody can serve the 5 day landlord notice.
The best person to serve the 5 day landlord notice is the owner of the property, because the owner of the property is usually the person who will testify in court for the eviction.
If the owner will not testify, and a property manager instead will testify, then that property manager is the best person to serve the 5 day landlord notice.
Usually, the notarized and competed 5 day landlord notice is admissible in court for proof that the 5 day landlord notice was served on the renter, but it is best if the person who served the notice testifies that he/she did so.
To serve the 5 day landlord notice, fill out the top part, which is the notice to the tenant that the "5 day landlord notice" period has started.
5 Day Notice Form
Many tenants will pay rent once they receive the 5 day landlord notice, without the need for the filing of court eviction forms.
Once you serve the 5 day landlord notice, then fill out the lower portion, which is the certificate that you served the eviction letter. Fill it out and get it notarized right away.
Next, wait the 5 days after you served the eviction letter. The law says 5 days, not 5 business days, so if you serve it on a Friday, then the fifth day is Wednesday. If you don't get rent by Wednesday, then the tenant has failed to respond to the 5 day landlord notice. On Thursday then, you can file the eviction forms in court.
You need two eviction forms from the court. The first form is the eviction complaint, or the eviction lawsuit.
In Illinois, this is called a "Complaint In Forcible Entry And Detainer." Whatever they call it, it is a Complaint, and the form is available at the court clerk's office.
Sample eviction forms are available here, along with instructions for filling them out.
The Complaint describes who the owner is, who the tenant is, what the address of the property is, and how much rent is owed by the tenant.
Read the entire paragraph regarding preparation of the eviction forms.
The complaint from the court is only part of what you need for filing the eviction forms. You will also need copies of the tenant's lease, and also copies of the 5 day landlord notice.
You should have at least four copies of the eviction forms when you file the case. Each copy of the Complaint should have stapled to it a copy of the lease, and also a copy of the 5 day landlord notice, completely filled out and notarized.
If you did not use a written lease, and instead used an oral lease, then don't worry, you can still evict the tenant. You will just have to tell the judge that you had an oral lease.
The other of the two eviction forms that you need from the Court is the Summons. In Illinois this is called a "Summons In Forcible Entry And Detainer."
The "Summons" is the document that describes what the tenant is supposed to do in response to the "Complaint".
The blank Summons form is available from the court clerk's office. You can fill the Summons out at the court clerk's office at the same time that you file the Complaint. You can also fill out the Complaint at the same time, if you have all of your information available.
The Summons will list the court date, time, and location, and tell the tenant what the tenant needs to do to respond to the eviction forms.
When you file the eviction case, you give the completed Summons and Complaint to the clerk, with about 4 copies of each, and with copies of the lease and 5 day landlord notice attached to each copy of the Complaint.
The clerk puts a court file stamp on each copy of the Complaint, then keeps the original and returns to you the extra copies. The clerk then file stamps the Summons forms, and returns all of the copies to you.
This is called "issuing the Summons." The clerk charges you the cost of filing the case, and the cost of issuing the summons.
The person who serves the eviction forms on the tenant will complete the "proof-of-service section" of the original Summons, and then return it to you or to the clerk for filing.
Not just anybody can serve the tenant with the eviction forms.
The law requires that a sheriff or a private process server be used to serve the forms.
Therefore, after you visit the clerk and pay for filing the case, you usually then need to take the eviction forms to the office of the sheriff in the county where the eviction is being done.
The sheriff will charge you a fee for serving the eviction forms on the tenant, usually around $45 for serving just one tenant, and more for serving extra tenants. The sheriff will take the original Summons, plus a copy, and will also take one or two copies of the complaint.
A sheriff deputy will then visit the tenant, taking the eviction forms with him.
When the deputy finds the tenant, he will give the tenant a copy of the eviction forms, and then will fill out the proof-of-service section of the original Summons, and return it to the clerk's office for filing.
Sometimes the sheriff will return the Summons to you, instead of to the clerk, so that you can deliver the Summons to the clerk yourself for filing.
If the sheriff's deputies are unable to find the tenant, then after a week or two they will return the Summons, indicating that it was "not served."
Read the summons carefully, because a served one and a "not-served" one look almost identical. If your Summons is not served, then you can go to the clerk's office and file the "unserved Summons", and get a replacement Summons, which will be called an "Alias Summons."
You will not need to file another Complaint though. Once is enough for the Complaint. For the Alias Summons, just write the word "Alias" next to the word "Summons" near the top of the Summons, to indicate that it is an Alias Summons.
If the Aias Summons is returned not served, then you can get a "Second Alias Summons," and then a "Third Alias Summons," and so on, until the tenant is finally located, or until you give up.
You can also use a private process server instead of the Sheriff. The rules for using a private server are different for various location.
In all locations, the process server has to be licensed by the State. In Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is located, you are required to use the sheriff for serving the eviction forms, unless you get an order from the judge allowing you to use a private server.
The private server usually does a better job, because the private server only gets paid if the service is successful. The private server usually charges more than twice as much as the sheriff does, though.
Once your eviction forms are served on the tenant, you are ready for Court.
5 day notice sample