Typical Scenario: You lease your rental home to a tenant on a one-year lease. After six months, the tenant starts to fall behind his his rent. Promises are made and more excuses are given. Sufficiently frustrated, you decide to start the eviction process.

This post is about the first, and most critical, step in the eviction process. The Landlord’s Five Day Notice.

Legal Requirements

Eviction trials generally involve two issues: 1) possession; and 2) rent. Before you can file a lawsuit, called a forcible entry and detainer, you must serve notice on the tenant. The form and substance of the notice is very important to vesting the court with jurisdiction. In order to recover possession and rent, the landlord must serve notice – commonly referred to as a Landlord’s Five Day Notice. (735 ILCS 5/9-201)

The notice should be personally served on the tenant after rent is due and unpaid. (735 ILCS 5/9-211)  If the tenant is not home, the notice may be left with a person, thirteen years or older, who resides at the property. (735 ILCS 5/9-211) The notice should include the name(s) of the tenant(s), the full property address, the amount of rent due and owing, and the following statement:

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. (735 ILCS 5/9-209)

Once the notice is served, the landlord or process server must prepare an affidavit of service. The affidavit of service must include the following information: 1) date and time of service; 2) location of service; 3) description of person served (age, sex, weight, race, etc…); and 4) signed by the person who served the notice and notarized. (735 ILCS 5/9-212)

Excluding the date of service, the Landlord must wait five days before proceeding with the lawsuit.  If the fifth day falls on the weekend or holiday, then the time period is continued to the following business day. (5 ILCS 70/1.11)