This post describes the general timeline associated with an eviction.

As discussed in a previous post, you must wait five days after personally serving the Landlord’s Five Day Notice on your tenant. If your tenant has not paid the full amount stated in the notice, you may proceed with filing your lawsuit. The technical name of the lawsuit is a complaint for forcible entry and detainer. Sounds more intimidating than it is.

When the complaint is filed, a future court date is scheduled about 2-4 weeks out. This time period is dependent upon the judge’s schedule and caseload. Generally, you must set the court date out a minimum of two weeks to allow sufficient time to have the tenant, now called defendant, served with the complaint and summons.

Assuming you have been able to serve the tenant, at the first court date one of the following scenarios will happen:

  1. If the tenant does not appear in court, the judge will likely enter a default judgment against the tenant. The default judgment will include the amount of the outstanding rent, court costs, attorneys’ fees (if provided for in lease), and a future possession date.
  2. If the tenant appears in court and admits liability, the judge will enter a judgment by admission and include the same provisions as a default judgment.
  3. If the tenant appears in court and contests liability, the judge will set the case for a bench trial. A bench trial differs from a jury trial in that the judge will decide the case after both parties put on their witnesses and evidence.

While no guidelines exist in the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, judges tend to give tenants an additional 14-28 days to pack their stuff and completely vacate the property. Judges tend to give tenants with children additional time.

In most cases, the tenants will vacate the property on or before the possession date. If this does not happen, you must engage the Sheriff’s Department.

Most Sheriff’s Departments make you wait until the possession date has lapsed before they will schedule an eviction. In order to schedule the eviction, you will need a certified copy of the court order and pay an eviction fee. The Sheriff schedules the eviction about 2-4 weeks after the possession date. Again, this timeframe depends on the Sheriff’s calendar and availability.

On the day of the eviction, the Sheriff will remove the tenant from the property. You, the Landlord, must make arrangements to have a moving company move the tenant’s property to the curb. Please check with your local Sheriff’s Department for specific instructions on how many movers are required and how the property must be placed at the curb.