Can I Evict a Commercial Tenant Who Fails to Pay Rent in Illinois?
There is often the false assumption that landlords are unreasonable and unforgiving, kicking their tenants out at the first sign of a late rent payment. These businessmen and businesswomen get a bad rap for taking legal action against their tenants, yet many forget that landlords are dependent upon their tenants’ rent money to make ends meet. This is an evident issue going on throughout Illinois since COVID-19 first made its mark. Since society essentially shut down for the past few months, many people were left unemployed and unable to pay their rent, including businesses. To avoid thousands of Illinois residents being put out on the streets, Governor J.B. Pritzker prohibited all residential evictions based on past-due rent. Commercial tenants did not go unnoticed, either. With no vaccination in sight, commercial eviction restrictions continue to be extended.
Extension Upon Extension
As the coronavirus first surfaced in the United States in early March, no one quite knew the toll it would take on families, businesses, and society as a whole. Chicago, being one of the largest cities in the country, has been hit especially hard, with predictions of a second wave to come in the next few months. Governor Pritzker addressed this societal shutdown and its impact on rent-paying tenants back in late April by banning all residential evictions and ceasing the proper authorities from enforcing commercial orders of eviction. This does not fully deny commercial requests for eviction, but the request will not lead to an eviction in the usual expedited manner.
Commercial tenants are still expected to pay rent, and their financial obligations are not removed, but the eviction process will be much delayed, leaving commercial landlords with many past due rent payments and an inability to fill their space with a new tenant. This executive order has since been extended to last through July 26, with expectations for another extension since no COVID-19 vaccination is available yet.
The Eviction Process
While commercial landlords may have difficulties evicting tenants at this time, once the executive order is lifted, they should be aware of the eviction process to ensure they are following the proper steps. Illinois law requires landlords to provide tenants with a written notice stating the reason for eviction. If the reason is for missing rent payments, you must give your tenants a five-day notice to pay the rent. If the reason for the eviction is because of lease violations and does not have to do with late rent payments, you must give your tenants a 10-day notice. If they remain in the property after your eviction notices, you are able to file a lawsuit to evict them. The tenants will then be required to appear in court.
In the instance where your tenants refuse to vacate, it is important to contact a real estate attorney to learn your rights and call a law enforcement officer to forcibly remove the tenants if necessary. If you attempt to force the tenants from the commercial building by locking them out, changing the building’s locks, or removing their property from the building, you may face legal consequences for doing so. These are general guidelines of the eviction process, but it is important to consult with a real estate attorney to look at the specific terms and conditions of your leasing agreement.
Contact a Naperville, IL Commercial Real Estate Lawyer for Help
Eviction cases, especially during these unprecedented times, can be very difficult to navigate. As a commercial landlord, you may feel as if you are being left to fend for yourself while your tenants are receiving government assistance at your expense. At the Gierach Law Firm, LLC, we understand how important your tenants’ monthly payments are to you and your family and we are here to help you review the terms of your lease agreement and gather evidence for your future eviction case. Our experienced attorney can assist property owners and sellers with their business transactions and negotiations throughout the state of Illinois. For help with your case, contact our Illinois commercial real estate attorney at our Naperville office (630-756-1160) or our Hoffman Estates office (847-519-0505) to schedule an appointment.