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What Can Chicago Landlords Do If Tenants Stop Paying Rent?

What Can Chicago Landlords Do If Tenants Stop Paying Rent?

When you have a tenant who hasn’t paid their rent on time, you’ll want to reach out to get this resolved immediately. If they don’t come forward with the rent, there are a few options you can pursue, including an eviction in the Chicago courts

While this may sound simple, it’s actually a complex process, and it will require your consistent involvement. This guide will help you understand what to do at each stage of this process.

Outline Your Policies Clearly

From the moment a tenant signs the lease, you should make sure they’re aware of your rent collection policy. The lease should provide detailed information about the rent amount, where the tenant can submit it, and the types of payment you accept. 

You should also make sure the lease outlines any late fees or penalties you will charge for late payments. If you offer a grace period, make sure to mention that in the lease as well. You’re not required by Chicago law to offer a grace period, so you should make sure your tenants know that it is available to them. 

Remind Your Tenants that Rent Is Due

If the due date for a tenant’s rent payment has come and gone, you should remind them that they haven’t paid. In some cases, a tenant may lose track of their days, or they might simply believe they already paid their rent. A written reminder can help them correct the problem, allowing you to avoid taking further legal action. Depending on how many tenants you have and how often they are late, a simple email template may come in handy.

Consider Working with Your Tenant

When you have a tenant who has a good payment history, you might consider making payment arrangements. You can work with them to help them catch up on their rent, but make sure they understand this is a one-time option. 

Setting up a plan for making their rent payment can help you keep a good tenant who is facing a temporary financial setback. However, it is very important to find out why the tenant is late. If it was a temporary setback, a payment plan is great idea while something more permanent (ie. job loss) may require different arrangements.

Issue the Pay or Quit Notice

If the tenant hasn’t made any attempt to communicate with you about their rent or work out a payment plan, it will be time to move forward with the eviction process. 

This process starts with the pay or quit notice (5 Day Notice here in Chicago), and it gives the tenant the opportunity to catch up on their rent. If they pay their outstanding balance within the allotted time frame, the landlord must end the eviction proceedings.

What if the tenant only pays a portion of the amount owed? In that case, the landlord can accept the payment and re-start the eviction process, or they can let the tenant stay. If you accept partial payment and allow the tenant to stay, you must provide this agreement in writing. 

File the Eviction

Once the notice period is over, you can file the eviction in the Chicago courts. After you submit the eviction filing, you can only accept rent from the tenant under the two following conditions:

  • The court has issued an order permitting “use and occupancy” for the tenant
  • The tenant is using their right to cure nonpayment of the rent

If you accept rent from the tenant and neither of the two conditions applies, you can no longer pursue the eviction. The court will determine that you have renewed the lease and that you’re allowing your tenant to stay.

Manage Your Tenants More Efficiently with Our Help

From vetting new tenant applicants to collecting rent more efficiently, Landmark Property Management can help you. We have the infrastructure and thorough knowledge of Chicago’s landlord/tenant laws to manage your property with greater efficiency.

Named one of the Best Property Management Companies in Chicago, Landmark Property Management is a full-service brokerage with a reputation for going the extra mile for our clients. If you need help, have any questions, or are interested in learning from the best property management company in Chicago, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can contact us at Landmark Property Management via phone at 312-313-8553 or send us an email at