Posts Tagged ‘eviction notice’
The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”) contains many mandatory requirements as to the holding of security deposits by landlords to which the ordinance applies. Any violation of those provisions, even an unintentional or minor violation, comes with a penalty of double the entire security deposit and makes the landlord liable to pay the tenant’s attorney fees for enforcement. Because of this, it has become increasingly common for Chicago landlords to cease the formerly widespread practice of requiring a security deposit, typically in the amount of one month’s rent, for every lease. Many landlords instead are now requiring a non-refundable “move in” fee, usually in the amount of a fraction of a month’s rent.
The recent Illinois First District Appellate Court decision in Steenes v MAC Property Management sanctions the new move-in fee practice. In Steenes, the Appellate Court affirmed a lower court decision that a $350.00 non-refundable move in fee was permissible in the case of a lease providing for rent in the amount of $715.00 per month. The court concluded that the $350.00 fee was “a ‘charge’ made in return for plaintiff’s moving into her unit, which would cover defendants’ resulting expense, time, and the interruption of business related to the move.” The Court’s reasoning was based upon its finding that the “amount of the move-in fee appears inadequate to be considered as security for any nonpayment of monthly rent or secure…” tenant’s performance of the lease terms. Because the move-in fee was expressly made non-refundable, the Court found that the fee could not be considered “as a surety for either unpaid rent or compensation for damage to the apartment” and thus was not a security deposit under RLTO.
Feel free to contact an experienced Illinois landlord law attorney at Logan Law, LLC if you have questions about how to properly serve eviction notices or any other area of the laws governing landlords and tenants.
Many Illinois landlords have been surprised to learn for the first time when they appear in eviction court that the words of the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (the Illinois Eviction Statute) and the Proof of Service sections of common printed forms of tenancy termination forms regarding Service Posting do not, in fact, have their common sense meaning. Section 5/9-104 of the Illinois Eviction Statute and common published forms provide that notices may be served by “posting the same on the premises” under the situation where “no one is in actual possession of the premises.”
Using the common meaning of the terms, many Illinois landlords have concluded that if when they go to serve a Five Day or other notice on the tenant and no one is home, then they can serve the notice by simply tacking it up or “posting” the notice on the front door or entry of the premises. They proceed to sit out the notice period and then file suit for eviction. Only when they finally appear before the judge at trial (often five weeks or more after visiting the tenant to serve the notice) do they find out that the Eviction Statute simply does not mean what it appears to say. Instead, they are informed by the eviction judge that the Illinois Appellate Court has held the real meaning of the Statute in that a Five Day or other termination notice may be served by posting it, only if the tenant has actually moved out. Service by posting is not good service where the tenant has not actually moved out of the premises, but is avoiding service or is simply not home when the landlord comes to call.
Unfortunately, the consequence to the landlord is severe. His suit for eviction is dismissed, and he must start again from square one, with the service of a new Notice to Terminate the Tenancy. The only consolation to Cook County landlords is that many of the Cook County eviction judges are willing to provide, in the dismissal order, that the filing fees of a new action, based upon a newly served Termination Notice, are waived.
Feel free to contact an experienced Illinois landlord eviction law attorney at Logan Law, LLC, if you have questions about how to properly serve eviction notices or any other area of the laws governing landlords and tenants.