Whenever you have concerns about how things are going with a rental property, the first step is to take the time to explore the situation. Don’t let issues pile up without addressing them!
Many landlord-tenant problems can be resolved informally with clear and prompt communication. Sometimes our small landlord clients are afraid that discussing an issue directly with a tenant will lead to giving up potential legal rights and remedies. Having a conversation or sending a text or email isn’t the same as providing a legal notice that can become the start of an eviction case. However, what’s said can have a legal impact, such as when a landlord agrees to allow a little extra time for a tenant to come up with the rent. If you’re unsure how to approach a problem, speak with an attorney for guidance. Attorneys from Eviction Help Illinois or Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD) can often provide insight into the practical and legal risks of various strategies for resolving landlord-tenant issues.
In Illinois, there are three main types of legally recognized notices for communicating about common landlord-tenant issues. The Illinois Supreme Court has provided standardized forms for each.
When the legally required service procedures are followed, these notices can become the start of a court case. However, simply serving a formal notice, even if it’s done in a way that it can be used in court later on, doesn’t actually start the eviction process or become part of a tenant’s public record. Landlords and tenants aren’t required to file copies of these notices in court or take any other formal legal action after receiving them, although they are typically necessary parts of the eviction court record. (See Illinois Supreme Court Rule 139 for more information.)
- The Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent, often referred to as a “5-day” notice, is used to address outstanding rent balances.
- The Notice of Termination for Lease Violation, sometimes called a “10-day” notice, provides an avenue for landlords to outline problems with a tenant’s conduct such as property damage or criminal activity.
- The Notice of Non-Renewal of Lease or Termination of Tenancy, applies when a landlord wants to stop renting to a tenant at the end of a lease term. Although this form is sometimes called a “30-day” notice, that can be a little misleading because the legally required amount of time is often longer than thirty days after service.
People can only fix problems they know about. Raising any maintenance, payment, or other issues directly and promptly might get them resolved, and if not, you'll be in a better position to take action! Seek legal guidance if you aren't sure how to bring up issues or feel unsafe doing so.