From March 20, 2020, through October 3, 2021, there was a moratorium on evictions in Illinois. The moratorium was in effect to prevent community spread and displacement during the COVID-19 Pandemic. At various points throughout the moratorium, Landlords were prohibited from both filing new eviction cases and enforcement of previously obtained eviction orders. While there is no longer a total prohibition on filing new eviction cases or enforcing lawfully obtained eviction orders, Cook County Landlords should be aware of new, permanent changes to the eviction process, in addition to temporary special rules for filing eviction cases in the City of Chicago. In addition, cases that were filed before the moratorium expired may still need to comply with the rules that were in effect at the time of filing.
What paperwork do I need to proceed with an eviction in Cook County as of December 7, 2021?
This list is not exhaustive and may not apply to every situation. A written 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. Landlords with legal questions can consult with an attorney for free through Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD). CCLAHD can be reached by calling 855-956-5763 or applying online at https://www.cookcountylegalaid.org/
ISSUES RELATED TO NONPAYMENT
DEALING WITH OTHER LEASE VIOLATIONS
NONRENEWALS AND MONTH-TO-MONTH TENANCIES
- Rental assistance programs are currently available to qualifying Landlords and Tenants. Rental assistance may be able to cover up to 15 months of back-rent owed. Individuals can find additional information regarding potential rental assistance programs by visiting ChiCookILRentHelp.org. If an eviction case has already been filed, Tenants and Landlords may be eligible for additional rental assistance programs. Reach out to the CCLAHD hotline (noted above) for more information regarding this option.
- Landlords who have active court cases that were filed before the statewide eviction moratorium was lifted on October 4, 2021 may still be required to comply with rules that were in effect at the time of filing. In most instances, Landlords were required to serve their Tenants with a Declaration Form before giving their Tenants any form of notice and complete a Certificate of Compliance when they filed an eviction lawsuit. Landlords who want to learn more can review this FAQ provided by the Illinois Housing Development Authority and this Illinois Supreme Court Rule.
- Landlords with property in the City of Chicago who have active court cases (particularly nonpayment cases) that were filed on or before December 2, 2021, need to certify that they have complied with the City’s COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinanceby truthfully completing the standard Certificate of Compliance (including Paragraphs 1 and 2(a)) when they file an eviction lawsuit. Additional information about how to comply with this ordinance is available under “Eviction Notice,” above.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook County Landlords who successfully obtain eviction orders (sometimes called an “order of possession”) 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.
- Samples of some of the documents needed to file an eviction cases can be found below. Please note that these documents should be used solely as samples 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. Blank versions of these documents can be found above.