Evict a Tenant For Not Paying Rent

In this guide, you'll learn a 5-step plan to evict a Tenant that doesn't pay rent so you can get back to making money.

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The 5-Day Notice
Serving the Notice
Get Help Now
Complete the Affidavit of Service


When a Tenant doesn't pay rent, you'll start the eviction process with a 5-Day Notice.  Here's how:

Complete the 5-Day Notice.  Print and fill out the  5-Day Notice.
Serve the 5-Day Notice.  Serve the 5-Day Notice on the Tenant (ex. if the rent is due on 1st, can serve on the 2nd).
Complete the Affidavit of Service.  Print and fill out the Affidavit of Service (this proves that the Tenant was served with the 5-Day Notice).
Mark your calendar.   Wait 5 days after the Tenant is served to see if he pays in full or moves out.
File a lawsuit.   If the Tenant hasn't paid or moved out within 5 days, then you must file a lawsuit.

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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Complete the Affidavit of Service

You'll need proof that the Tenant was served with the 5-Day Notice.  Have the person who served the Tenant complete the Affidavit of Service form.  Keep the completed form in your file.  You'll use this form to prove that the Tenant was served the Notice.  Without proof, your eviction lawsuit will be thrown out by the Judge

Mark your calendar

The five-day period begins on the day after the Tenant was served with the Notice.  Once you know when the Tenant was served, mark the calendar five days after that date.   Weekends and holidays included.

File a lawsuit

If you served the Tenant with a 5-Day Notice and the Tenant doesn't pay in full within five days, then you must sue.  If you want a lawyer to help, connect with a good one here.  If you'd rather go it alone, this article will help.


Can I slip the notice under the door?  No, Tenants must be served as set forth in 735 ILCS 5/9-211.

Can I serve the Notice?  Not smart.  Whoever served the Notice may need to testify if the case went to trial.  Even bad lawyers could point out your self-serving testimony and argue that the notice wasn't *actually* served.

Should I accept partial payments? You are not required to accept partial payments.  But if you won't, make sure your 5-Day Notice includes something like this: 

"Only FULL PAYMENT of the rent demanded in this Notice will waive the landlord’s right to terminate the lease under this Notice unless the landlord agrees in writing to continue the lease in exchange for receiving partial payment."  

Accepting less than the full amount will waive your right to use the 5-Day Notice to evict a Tenant.  And you'll need to start the process over.

How quickly can I serve the Notice?  The day after rent is due.  If rent is due on the first of the month, you can (and should) serve on the second day.


5-Day Notice
Affidavit of Service

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5-Day Notice - 735 ILCS 5/9-209
Serving Notice - 735 ILCS 5/9-211

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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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