Self-Help Evictions (Lockouts)

In this guide, you'll learn how to avoid illegal self-help evictions.

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Enforcing an Eviction Order


Self-help evictions are illegal in Illinois.  Trying to kick out a Tenant without a court order, shutting off utilities, and changing locks are all examples of self-help evictions.  It doesn't matter what the Tenant has done.  You must file an eviction lawsuit if a Tenant refuses to leave - you can't take matters into your own hands.

The Five-Day Notice

The 5-Day Notice tells the Tenant to pay up within the next five days or move out.  If the Tenant pays in full before the five days are up, then you must take the money and they can stay.  If they don't pay up, then you can file a lawsuit to evict.  

Check local ordinances (some may require more than five days).  The clock starts on the day after the Tenant is served.  You can apply late fees (if your lease allows it).  If not, get a better lease.

How do I serve the Five-Day Notice

The completed notice must be served on the Tenants ( 735 ILCS 5/9-211 ).  Here's how:

  1. Personally serve the Tenant,
  2. By leaving it with someone 13+ years that live at the house; or 
  3. By sending a copy of the notice to the tenant by certified or registered mail, with a returned receipt from the addressee; and 
  4. In case no one is in the actual possession of the premises, then by posting the same on the premises.

Who can serve the notice?  Anyone 18+ years old.  But it shouldn't be you (problems if need to testify about service at trial).

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Enforcing an Eviction Order

Even with an Order for Possession from the Judge, you must wait for a Sheriff to perform the eviction.  Attempting to perform the eviction on your own may violate the "peaceful entry" rules.  And it will certainly expose you to liability.  Only the Sheriff can enforce an eviction

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This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion on any specific case and/or circumstance.  This article does not create an attorney/client relationship.  No guarantee for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should be based solely on advertisements.

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