It will take a month or more to evict tenant

Q: I have a tenant who has been living in my condo for the past three years. He signs a written lease each year. The current one-year lease expires at the end of June.

I told him last month I would not renew his lease as I plan to sell the unit. He didn't act like that would be a problem.

He just informed me he would not be able to move out by the end of June. He says he lost his job and he doesn't have enough money to pay anyone a security deposit and one month's rent.

What are my options here? Do I need to give him some sort of notice saying he must move out by June 30? What do I do if he is still there on July 1?

A: Presuming you have a written lease that expires on June 30, no further notice is required, presuming there is nothing in the lease that requires a notice and you are not in a jurisdiction that requires such notice. Most don't.

If he is still in possession on July 1, you have the right to commence an eviction lawsuit in the county where the property is located. You can retain an attorney to assist you or check your county's circuit court website for assistance in proceeding on your own. Most counties' websites contain the information and forms to handle this yourself, though evictions can be technical and failure to comply with state and/or local rules could lead to an unfavorable result.

Unfortunately, a lawsuit will take some time and expense to accomplish your goal, which is to regain possession of your unit. Your initial court date will likely be three to four weeks from your filing date and there are numerous potential issues that could prolong the case.

Once you receive an Order of Possession from the court, the judge will likely give the tenant a week or two to move out. If the tenant still fails to vacate the property, you take the Order of Possession to the county sheriff, who then schedules the eviction. This could be anywhere from another couple weeks to one or more months, depending on the county. As you can see, you could be looking at a couple months or more before you regain possession of the property.

It may make more sense to try and work something out with the tenant. Determine how much money he needs to make the move by June 30 and maybe advance him whatever cash he is lacking. Even if he never pays you back, you presumably have a security deposit. And, even if you don't have a security deposit, if you save two months of him being in your unit without paying rent, that number is likely far in excess of what it will cost you to pay him to leave.

Q: I just received a notice of building code violations on my three flat. The violations involve garbage around the building, safety lock issues, broken windows and other seemingly minor problems. I have a court date at the beginning of July. Am I required to have an attorney for this or can I handle this myself?

A: I don't believe any of our local jurisdictions require you to be represented by an attorney for your building code case. If this were me, I would get to work addressing the issues cited in the violation notice, presuming the allegations are reasonable. Appear in court on the initial court date, bring pictures of the work you have done and speak to the attorney representing the village or city. If you deem one or more of the cited violations unreasonable, present your argument as to why you should not have been cited for that particular violation.

Attorneys handling these cases are generally pretty easy to work with. You will find the attorneys and the court are not out to cause anyone grief. They are there simply to assist the city or village in bringing the property into compliance.

• Send your questions to attorney Tom Resnick, 910 E. Oak St., Lake in the Hills, IL 60156, by email to or call (847) 359-8983.

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