The moratorium on evictions that was put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. However, Cook County Landlords should be aware of new, permanent changes to the eviction process.
Landlords with legal questions can consult with an attorney for free through Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD). Call the CCLAHD Hotline at 855-956-5763 for help or visit www.cookcountylegalaid.org for more information.
What paperwork do I need to file an eviction in Cook County?
This list is not exhaustive and may not apply to every situation. A guide like this can never substitute for the advice of a lawyer. Eviction law is in a constant state of change and issues are never as clear cut as they seem. Use this guide as a starting point.
Samples of some of the documents needed to file an eviction case can be found below. Please note that these documents should be used solely as examples and that, if you choose to file an eviction case, each document you complete must be filled out with the specific information that applies to your matter.
ISSUES RELATED TO NONPAYMENT
DEALING WITH OTHER LEASE VIOLATIONS
NONRENEWALS AND MONTH-TO-MONTH TENANCIES
- For additional guidance on how to proceed through the eviction process, see the Illinois Courts’ guide on How to File & Present an Eviction Complaint
- Rental assistance programs are available to qualifying Landlords and Tenants. To learn more, call 312-698-0202 (Chicago) or 833-221-9821 (Suburban Cook County.) You can also contact the CCLAHD hotline at 855-956-5763 for more information or use the Chat Bot on the CCLAHD website to make an appointment with court-based rental assistance if you have already filed your eviction case.
- Zoom Court: Eviction court in Cook County is primarily happening over Zoom. You can find information regarding the Zoom login information for each courtroom on the Circuit Court of Cook County’s website.
- E-Filing & Zoom Assistance: Landlords who are having trouble navigating the court system during the pandemic can call the JusticeCorps Information Helpline to get free help with Electronic Filing (E-Filing) and Remote / Zoom Court Procedures by calling (872) 529-1093. The Illinois Supreme Court has its own resources for Electronic Filing (E-Filing) and Remote / Zoom Court Procedures, which are available at ILCourtHelp.gov or by calling/texting (833) 411-1121.
- Who can file an eviction case?: Typically, the “Plaintiff” (or person who files the case) in an eviction case should be the owner of the property. If the property is owned by a corporation or LLC, a lawyer should be hired to file the case. A property manager cannot file an eviction case on behalf of the property owner.
- Next Court Date: Once a case has been filed, it is important to know your next court date. If possible, write down that information when the judge gives it to you in court. If you do not know when your next court date is, it may be on the paperwork you received from the court. If you are still unable to find that information, you can contact the court clerk at your courthouse or text or email the appropriate number found on this Document.
- Service: An important part of the eviction process is known as “service.” Service is often how the defendant is made aware that an eviction case has been filed against them and when the next court date will be. Typically, service is first attempted by the sheriff. As the landlord, you can start the service process by filing documents with the sheriff’s office. There are a number of resources regarding service, like the Cook County Sheriff’s website and this Illinois Legal Aid Online Article regarding service, but if you have specific questions about service in your case, you can call the CCLAHD Hotline at 855-956-5763 or visit www.cookcountylegalaid.org for potential assistance.
- If the sheriff is unable to serve the defendant in your case, you may request to use a Special Process Server to serve the defendant. More information regarding this option can be found in this Illinois Legal Aid Online Article regarding service or on the Illinois Courts webpage regarding Special Process Servers.
- Eviction Defenses: There are a number of reasons a defendant in an eviction case could ask the judge to dismiss the case. You can find examples of potential eviction defenses on Illinois Legal Aid Online’s article on “Common eviction defenses.”
- Landlord Tenant Guidelines: In Cook County, there are various sets of guidelines that may apply to your property and your landlord-tenant relationship. For properties in:
- Cook County, please review the Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance
- Chicago, please review the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance and the Fair Notice Ordinance
- Evanston, please review Evanston’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance
- Mount Prospect, please review the Village's Tenant and Landlord's Rights
- Oak Park, please review the Oak Park Residential Tenant and Landlord Ordinance
- Please note that not all properties in these locations are covered by these rules. If you have questions about which rules apply in your case, you can call the CCLAHD Hotline at 855-956-5763 or visit www.cookcountylegalaid.org for potential assistance.
- Default Judgements: If the tenant does not appear in court after they have been served, a landlord may be able to get a “default judgement.” This Eviction Order template can be used in in Illinois for a default judgement. A tenant typically has 30 days after this order is entered to ask the court to vacate (or undo) a default judgement.
- Enforcing an Eviction: Cook County Landlords who successfully obtain eviction orders may need to complete a "Verification of Non-Rental Assistance” form and submit it to the Cook County Sheriff’s office before the Sheriff will schedule an eviction. Additional information on this Verification form is available here or through the Sheriff’s website.
- Winter Evictions: Eviction cases can still proceed during the winter months, though there are some dates when the Cook County Sheriff’s Office will not enforce an eviction order, like in extreme weather conditions. Check the Cook County Sheriff's website for the most up-to-date information.
- ABF Survey for Landlords: The American Bar Foundation (ABF) is conducting interviews with small Landlords about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their ability to provide naturally affordable housing in Cook County. Interviews will cover how Landlords are responding to the unique challenges that the last year or so has presented, including lost rental income and the various legal restrictions on filing eviction cases. The ABF researcher conducting these interviews does not work for CVLS, is not an attorney, and will not be able to give you legal advice. However, this interview may be an opportunity for Landlords to discuss the issues and frustrations that the legal system isn’t able to address. Interviews are conducted by phone/Zoom, and participants will be compensated for their time. You can find additional information about this study (including how to sign up) on the American Bar Foundation’s website.