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Eviction Notice: How Long Until You Are Locked Out?

Posted on : January 2, 2018, By:  Christopher Hildebrand

It’s something no tenant wants to see – an eviction notice. When you receive such a notice, any number of questions might start rattling around in your head, chief of which is probably: “How long until I’m kicked out?”

The answer mainly depends on two things, where you live and why you received the notice in the first place, but it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind.  First, the notice is only a precursor to an eviction lawsuit. Second, and on a related note, the notice only serves to terminate a tenant’s right to possession of an apartment unit.

In pretty much every jurisdiction, a tenant can only be evicted through a court order from an eviction lawsuit. Before such a case can be filed, a tenant must first be served with a proper notice, and the notice period must elapse. In fact, the eviction lawsuit usually takes significantly longer than the notice might imply. In other words, the 5-Day Notice or 10-Day Notice you might receive doesn’t mean you’re going to be kicked out in 5 or 10 days.

With that said, it’s still good to know how long you might have as a tenant before an eviction case can be filed. Different states and even different cities and towns within states set varying timelines for eviction notices. For instance, in Illinois, the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (aka – Eviction law) requires a 5-Day Notice for the non-payment of rent, a 10-Day Notice for a lease violation, and a 30-Day Notice to terminate a month-to-month tenancy. The City of Evanston, on the other hand, imposes a 10-Day Notice for the non-payment of rent, and a 30-Day Notice for lease violations. As a result, it’s important to check your local laws or consult with a local landlord-tenant attorney about your specific situation.

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As hinted in the previous paragraph, the reason for receiving the notice is the other main factor in how long you have before an eviction is filed against you. The shortest amount of notice is usually associated with the failure to pay rent. For example, the 5-Day Notice in Illinois allows the tenant five days after being served with the notice to pay the full outstanding balance and avoid an eviction case. The 10-Day Notice in Illinois is for a material lease violation allowing for an eviction (i.e. – criminal activity, keeping a pet in violation of the lease, etc.). Much like with the 5-Day Notice, after being served with the 10-Day Notice, the tenant has ten days to cure the lease violation to avoid being evicted.

Once the notice period expires, an eviction case can be filed, and here is another area where the location of the apartment plays a large role. In Chicago and Cook County, eviction cases typically take anywhere from one month to several months to play out, and after that the landlord still must wait for the Sheriff to actually carry out the eviction order (in other words, kick everyone out).

Finally, once the order for possession is placed with the Sheriff, the time it takes for the actual eviction to happen again depends on how busy the county Sheriff is where the apartment is located. In Cook County, the Sheriff typically has a backlog that sets it 4-6 weeks behind.

As you can see, evictions are a lot more complicated than a notice might imply. For a more specific evaluation of a potential eviction in your city or town, consult with a local landlord tenant attorney such as the Eviction Attorney Chicago locals turn to.

Thanks to authors at William Mazur law for their insight into Tenant & Landlord law.