What Should I Do If My Tenant Stopped Paying Rent?

rent, Wheaton real estate lawyersIf you own and lease out residential or commercial real estate, it is almost a certainty that you will be forced to deal with tenants who pay their rent late. You may offer a grace period to help your tenants, but sooner or later, someone will fail to pay on time. As a landlord, there are few things you might wish to consider—and some things you must do—before initiating formal eviction proceedings.

Communicate With Your Tenant

Communication is the key to preventing misunderstandings and solving small problems before they become major issues. If your tenant has missed the window for on-time payments, reach out to him or her to find out what is going on. Send a text message, make a phone call, or stop by, especially if this is the first time this tenant had a problem.

During your conversation, try to determine if the tenant’s financial situation has changed. If he or she is concerned about no longer being able to afford to meet the rental obligations, consider offering to let the tenant out of the lease. Be sure that the tenant knows that he or she will only have a few days during which your offer is valid—say five to seven days. You might be surprised by how quickly your tenant comes up with the money to pay.

Send or Post a Demand Notice

Before you can begin the process of evicting your tenant, he or she must be given the opportunity to get caught up on the rent. To provide this opportunity, you must notify the tenant in writing of the total amount due. You must also give him or her at least five days to pay in full before you can consider the lease to be terminated. Once the lease is terminated, you can begin eviction proceedings.

It is up to you if you are willing to accept partial payments or a payment arrangement, but the law in Illinois gives you the right to terminate the lease if full payment is not made. If you are not willing to accept partial payments or arrangements, your demand notice should state that only full payment will keep the lease in effect.

Speak With a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney

If your tenant has failed to pay his or her rent, you will need to take some kind of action to protect your rights and your real estate investment. An experienced DuPage County real estate lawyer can help you handle any type of landlord-tenant dispute, including the non-payment of rent. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC today.



An Overview of Illinois’ Landlord-Tenant Laws

Illinois landlord lawyersWhile, in most cases, a landlord and tenant can complete the term of a lease without issue, there are scenarios in which legal assistance may be needed, either by the landlord or the tenant. Some even require the assistance of an attorney. To help you determine if you might be facing such an issue, consider the following overview on Illinois’ landlord-tenant laws.

Required Leasing Disclosures for Landlords

Under Illinois state law, landlords are required to disclose specific information to tenants. Usually, done through the lease agreement, this information includes: 

  • Utilities that are included in the price of rent (paid by the landlord but billed to the tenant);
  • Rent concessions must be detailed in a very specific manner. If a landlord fails to comply with this law, they could face both civil and criminal penalties;
  • Presence of radon (if applicable). Landlords are not required to test for radon, but if they test and find it is present, they must disclose this to any prospective tenant; and
  • Any local city or county disclosures that may be required by law.

Security Deposit Limits and Returns 

While Illinois state law does not limit the amount that a landlord can charge for a security deposit, it does require that any returns be made in a timely manner (usually 30-45 days after the tenant moves out). If a deposit will not be returned, due to damages or unpaid rent, landlords are encouraged to submit to the tenant an itemized list that explains any charges for which they are responsible. Tenants have the right to dispute any charges that they incur, and they have the right to take the matter to small claims court for up to $10,000 in unreturned deposits, but the assistance of an attorney is recommended for this process. If the landlord does not return a deposit but holds it for six or more months, they may be responsible for paying the tenant interest on any unreturned security deposits. 

Notice Requirements on Price Changes, Evictions, and Lease Termination

Certain rent and leasing notices are regulated by state law, including increases to rent prices, evictions, and termination of tenancy. Specifically, landlords must notify tenants:

  • 30 days prior to a change in rent prices;
  • 5-10 days to pay rent before filing for eviction for a non-payment of rent; and
  • 10 days for a notice to end tenancy when a term of the lease has been violated.

Tenant Protections and a Landlord’s Right to Access Property

State law also protects both landlords and tenants in certain situations. For example, a landlord has the right to inspect the property, but they must provide the tenant with advance notice before entering the property. There are also laws regarding how a landlord must handle property that has been abandoned by a previous tenant. Protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence or have certain disabilities are also covered under Illinois’ landlord-tenant laws. 

Our DuPage County Real Estate Attorneys Can Help with Your Landlord-Tenant Issue

Backed by more than 40 years of legal experience, Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC can assist with your landlord-tenant issues. In every situation, we strive for the most favorable outcome possible. Contact our Wheaton real estate lawyers at 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation today. 







Dealing with a Tenant's Security Deposit Dispute

Illinois landlord-tenant dispute lawyersEven the most meticulous landlord can experience a security deposit dispute. Thankfully, diligence tends to pay off in such matters. Learn more about how a few basic steps can help you fight and potentially win against a tenant's security deposit dispute, and discover how an experienced landlord-tenant dispute attorney can help.

Illinois' Rules on Security Deposits

Illinois has certain requirements regarding the return of security deposits with which landlords must comply. First and foremost, deposits are supposed to be returned to tenants within 30 to 45 days after they have vacated the premises, depending on whether the tenant disputes any of the deductions that were made against their deposit. If the tenant leased a unit from a property with five or more units, the landlord must also supply the tenant with an itemized statement that explains what deductions have been made, and why.

Dealing with a Tenant Lawsuit

Landlords are highly encouraged to develop a fail-proof system for taking in and ending a contract with tenants. Before and after video photographs, a walk-through checklist (preferably done with the tenant present), receipts and copies of repair or cleaning estimates, and a log of any hours that were spent on cleaning or repairs can both reduce confusion for your tenants and protect you in the event of a lawsuit. Of course, even landlords who take these measures experience disputes over the non-return or partial return of a security deposit – often because they do not agree with all or a portion of the itemized deductions that were made.

Tenants will typically contact their landlord by phone, email, in person, or via postal service before filing a claim. Use this opportunity to try and diffuse the situation, if possible, and if you failed to meet the deadline on their return, do what you can to make it right. Going to small claims court is an inconvenience, and if your tenant wins, you could lose the entire deposit. You may also experience hefty penalties or be assessed for punitive damages if a judge determines that you acted in bad faith. For this reason, landlords are encouraged to contact an attorney if they have reason to believe their tenant may win a dispute; doing so could improve the outcome of the situation.

Contact Our DuPage County Landlord-Tenant Dispute Lawyers

While an attorney is not required in a landlord-tenant dispute, having one on your side can reduce the work and stress that you experience while dealing with a tenant's security deposit dispute. Able to walk you through the steps you can take to protect yourself and your investment, the seasoned DuPage County landlord-tenant dispute lawyers at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC are the ones to trust. Schedule your personalized consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.