Unfortunately, there are times when the landlord/tenant relationship can be contentious. The tenant did not pay their rent on time, caused a disruption with the other tenants and/or the Landlord, etc.. Accordingly, the eviction process may have started and the tenant disappears, leaving the keys behind at the Unit. What should the Landlord do? Below are a few options.


Do Nothing

If a tenant moves out without paying rent, it may make sense to do nothing if the tenant has tendered the keys, the Unit is in habitable condition and the amount of arrearage owed is small. However, if the Unit is in deplorable condition and the amount of past due rent is significant, it may make financial sense to go after these tenants.


Legal Action

KSN offers a wide array of legal services to help Landlords Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. We vigorously attempt to locate the tenant and begin the legal process against them. In order to begin the legal process against the tenant, we do need certain pieces of information:


  • A copy of the lease.
  • If there was no lease that was entered between the parties, we would need to know the terms of the oral month to month lease.
  • Also, we would need any receipts showing the amount of work incurred in repairing the Unit.


Once all of this information is gathered, we would then file a Breach of Contract Complaint with the Circuit Court. We would to have to serve the tenant with a Summons which would require them to appear at Court. If they fail to appear or after trial and the Judge rules in our favor, the Court would then enter a monetary Judgment in favor of the Landlord and against the tenant.

Once the Judgment is entered, we would then begin post-judgment proceedings.


Post-Judgment Collection

At KSN, we pride ourselves in doing whatever we can in order to collect the judgment for our clients. One of the many available options we can do is to file a Third Party Citation to Discover Assets to the tenant’s Bank. This requires the Bank to file an Answer regarding the amount of funds in the Bank Account. If there are funds in the account, we would then prepare a Turnover Order, which is a Court Order directing the Bank to turnover these funds to our client in order to satisfy the Judgment. However, landlords should be aware that there are numerous exemptions a Defendant could claim and we may not be able to obtain any of the funds.


Wage Deduction/Garnishment

Another option that we have had tremendous success with is to begin Wage Deduction (garnishment) proceedings against the tenant’s employer. The employer is required to file an Answer with the Court advising what the tenant’s income is and how much of the income is available to be garnished. Depending on the tenant’s income and other support obligations, our client would be able to collect up to 15 percent of the Tenant’s gross income. If there are wages to be garnished, we would then ask Court to enter a Wage Deduction Order allowing the client to garnish the wages in order to collect on the Judgment.


This is only a sampling of the legal services that we provide to our Landlord clients. If you are a landlord or property manager in Chicago or the surrounding Illinois suburbs and have questions regarding options with uncooperative tenants, do not hesitate to contact Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit at 847-537-0500 or visit our website at www.ksnlaw.com.

Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. Additionally, we represent clients in real estate transactions, collectionslandlord/tenant issues, and property tax appeals. We represent thousands of clients and community associations throughout the US with offices in several states including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

This article is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading this article you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the article author. This article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. © 2017 Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, A Professional Corporation.