Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Soon Can I Get Evicted in Chicago?

Pretty fast.  The eviction timeline is considered "expedited" in Chicago.  

When a landlord files for eviction, the court automatically schedules a trial date for two weeks later.  

If the Sheriff serves the tenant with the summons and complaint, the trial will usually be held on the first court date.  

If the landlord wins the trial (and they generally do), an Eviction Order will generally be entered that states the tenant must vacate the apartment within 1 to 2 weeks.   

If the tenant fails to vacate, the landlord can take the order to the Cook County Sheriff.  

The Sheriff will then send deputies out to the property to remove the tenants from the apartment and supervise the changing of the locks.  It's too late to move then.  

Don't let this happen to you.  Work with an experienced lawyer to help you get reasonable time to save money and move, negotiate the back rent, and make sure your rights and defenses are respected.  You may even get moving money depending upon who is evicting you.  Your legal dollars are limited:  make them count!     

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Do I Need a Lawyer to Defend My Chicago Eviction?

People often ask if they need an attorney to represent them in a Chicago eviction case. Probably. If the tenant is a corporation or other formal business entity, it must have an attorney represent it.  

But for everybody else, it's always good to have an attorney. Of course, if money is tight, the tenant might not want to hire a lawyer just because it "wouldn't hurt."  So, here are a few examples of when hiring an attorney can be very helpful and a good use of legal dollars. 

1.  When the landlord has an attorney.  "Never bring a knife to a gunfight." Landlord lawyers usually try to work out deals with tenants before court starts. This means the judge never decides the case. Some of these deals are fair but many are awful compared to what might have happened if the judge made a decision instead. The problem is tenants don't really know if they're being offered a good deal. That's where an experienced eviction lawyer can step in and negotiate a better deal or let the judge decide.  

2.  When the tenant has a defense to the eviction. Eviction defenses are very technical and any mistake by the tenant or the landlord can lead to an eviction or to the case being thrown out. Tenants need an experienced Chicago eviction attorney to spot these defenses and raise them properly.  

3.  Where the tenant needs more time to move.  Generally, a tenant will be given only 2 weeks to move out if he loses his trial. This may not be enough time to save money or move a family with someone elderly or handicapped. An experienced Chicago eviction lawyer can help the tenant obtain more time to put his affairs in order and move without the humiliation of being put out by the Sheriff.