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.        

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