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The basics of commercial real estate evictions in Illinois

The tenant of a commercial space has possession of the office, workspace or storefront, but the landlord still owns the place. Most landlord-tenant relationships go smoothly in Illinois, but sometimes landlords feel they must evict a commercial tenant.

Most evictions take place after the tenant violates a provision of the lease. Failure to pay rent on time is one of the most common reasons for a tenant to get evicted, but any violation of the lease could be potential grounds for eviction. For instance, illegal activity taking place on the premises could cause the landlord to begin eviction proceedings.

However, the law does not allow landlords simply to throw their tenants out on the street. There is a procedure that begins with the landlord providing the tenant with proper written notice, warning of eviction unless the tenant fixes the violation within a reasonable amount of time.

If the tenant does not take the necessary action, the landlord may then petition the court to grant an eviction, which is often formally known as an “unlawful detainer” or “forcible entry and detainer” action. After filing with the court, the landlord must serve the court documents to the tenant.

In most places, the court schedules a hearing without waiting for an answer from the tenant. In jurisdictions that do wait for the tenant to file an answer, if no answer appears, the landlord automatically prevails.

The hearing gives both sides the opportunity to argue whether or not the judge should grant the eviction. If the judge decides in the affirmative, he or she may order the tenant to pay monetary damages for unpaid rent, attorney fees and costs. The judge will also issue a writ for possession of the premises, giving the tenant a few days to move out voluntarily.

If the tenant does not leave, local law enforcement will execute it to ensure that the tenant is removed so that the landlord can regain possession.

Both commercial landlords and tenants engaged in a dispute can benefit from the help of an experienced attorney.

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