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Kevin O'Flaherty

This article will explain how to evict a roommate in Illinois and discuss Illinois tenant laws. We will answer the question, "do I have to add roommates to my lease in Illinois?" We will explain how to evict a roommate who is not on the lease in Illinois and how to evict a roommate who is on the lease.

Do I have to Add Roommates to My Lease in Illinois?

Always seek your landlord's approval before inviting an additional tenant into your home. Although adding a roommate to the equation can be an easy way to cut down on the costs of renting a house or apartment, sometimes things don't work out. Before inviting another tenant into your home, find out what your lease says about having roommates. In most cases, adding a roommate is acceptable if you notify your landlord of the new companion or family member.

If your lease agreement does not allow additional tenants, do not invite roommates into your home. If the situation goes south, you may need your landlord to get involved in evicting an unwelcome roommate, and you could also be evicted for violating your lease agreement. Be sure to read your lease carefully before adding a new tenant to the mix.

How to Evict a Roommate Who is Not on the Lease in Illinois

If you find yourself in a situation where a roommate who isn't officially on the lease needs to be evicted, starting with a diplomatic approach is ideal. Engage in a respectful conversation, asking them to vacate within a reasonable timeframe, and make sure to document this request in writing, including the date, and keep a copy for your records. Should they agree to leave, remember that you'll need to cover their portion of the rent and any utilities, if relevant.

When things are more complicated, and the roommate refuses to leave, the next steps can be more complex. Illinois law, particularly the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, offers a legal route for evicting non-leaseholders, emphasizing that eviction must be done lawfully without resorting to physical removal. This act mandates a legal procedure for reclaiming property, making it clear that even if someone was allowed to stay by verbal agreement, they can't be forced out without following the state's eviction process. This means that even calling the police won't help in removing a roommate as they're protected under this statute, highlighting the importance of the legal eviction notice and court process in Illinois.

To legally remove an unwanted roommate, you must issue a formal roommate eviction letter, giving a 30-day notice to end their tenancy. Should they not leave after this period, you're entitled to initiate an eviction lawsuit. Although this can be a time-consuming and potentially expensive route, it's the legally sanctioned method to evict someone who has been granted the right to stay, whether through explicit or implied consent.

It's worth noting that even non-rent-paying individuals can establish tenancy rights through indicators such as receiving mail at the address, holding a driver's license with the property's address, or regularly staying at the property. Such tenancy rights are recognized regardless of rent payment, making eviction for non-payment a non-issue in the eyes of the law.

Before considering drastic measures like changing the locks, be aware that such actions are illegal if the person was initially allowed to stay by you. This could lead to legal repercussions, including a lawsuit for wrongful eviction, emphasizing the necessity of adhering to legal processes for evicting a roommate, including understanding squatters' rights in Illinois and the crucial role of an eviction notice and the court's involvement in resolving such matters.

Evicting a Roommate Who is On the Lease in Illinois

If you and your roommate have both signed the lease, you have equal rights to occupy the residence. It will be challenging for you to single-handedly evict your roommate if they do not wish to leave. If you have good reason to remove your roommate, you will have to get your landlord involved. "Good reason" does not refer to minor disagreements or differing schedules – valid reasons for eviction include illegal drugs, violent behavior, or any other lease violation. The landlord may be the only legal authority besides a judge who can begin the eviction process.

If your roommate is subletting a unit from you and has signed a formal sublease agreement, you are legally their landlord. As an Illinois landlord, you have the authority to follow the legal process to evict your sub-lessor.

To learn more about how to evict a tenant, check out our article: How to Evict a Tenant in Illinois.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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