4 Steps to Take When Someone Breaches a Real Estate Contract

If you are a Chicago area landlord, you’re aware that the law protects the rights of your tenants. However, this doesn’t mean that they can behave or use the property in ways that violate the terms of your lease agreement.

For example, if you’re dealing with a tenant who is refusing to pay rent, you can end their tenancy and evict them, but certain steps must be followed. When Chicago landlords use self-help remedies to remove a non-paying tenant, they could find themselves facing an action for trespassing, a breach of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, or worse yet a claimed violation of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO). Instead of assuming this risk, take the 4 steps below.

  1. Send the Appropriate Notice

Always send a notice designed to address the breach.

  • For nonpayment of rent, a 5-Day Notice applies. If the tenant pays the entire amount owing within five days, you must accept it and refrain from further eviction action. If they offer less than the full amount, you can refuse it and proceed to the next step in evicting them.
  • Breach of any term in the lease requires a 10-Day Notice. When preparing the notice, you need to specify the section of the lease that the tenant violated in addition to the specifics of the violation. Examples might include loud music at night, unapproved pets in the apartment, or uninvited guests living there. If the tenant complies by refraining from further violations, the breach has been corrected.
  • If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, you may serve them with a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Lease. No reason has to be given for terminating the tenancy.
  1. File a Forcible Entry and Detainer Suit

If you provided the tenant with the proper notice for the violation and they failed or refused to comply, the next step is to file a forcible entry and detainer suit in Cook County (if that is where your property is located).

  1. Have the Tenants Served

Each tenant in the unit must be served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint, even uninvited guests, the latter of whom may be named as “Unknown Occupants.” Legally valid methods of service include:

  • Personal service on the tenant(s)
  • Substituted service on a resident over the age of 13
  • Service by publication (only if you have an Order of Possession already)
  1. Hire a Chicago Landlord’s Rights Attorney

If the matter has proceeded to court, it is in your best interests to enlist the services of an experienced attorney who is familiar with the processes and laws involving the landlord-tenant relationship and has in-depth knowledge of the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (RLTO).

Even the most reasonable and respectful Chicago landlord who keeps their rental properties in good condition may run across a tenant who, wilfully other otherwise, breaches the lease agreement. If this happens to you, the Auricchio Law Offices will help you protect your property interests by counseling you on how to handle these difficulties. To schedule a consultation, call 312-263-0010 or contact us.

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Auricchio Law Offices

Auricchio Law Offices in Chicago provides a complete range of real estate services. We facilitate residential and commercial real estate transactions, advise and represent condominium associations, and represent property owners in real estate litigation. Whatever your real estate issue, we will work diligently to achieve your goals in a timely and efficient manner.

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