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In this article, we will explain how to evict a roommate in Illinois and discuss Illinois roommate eviction 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 as well as how to evict a roommate who is on the lease.

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

Ideally, you can have a civil conversation with your roommate and ask them to leave in an acceptable amount of time. During this conversation, be sure to write your request, date it, and file a copy. Remember, if your roommate does agree to move out, you will be responsible for their share of rent and utilities, if applicable.

Assuming your situation is a bit stickier than this, getting rid of a roommate who is not a legal cotenant may be more challenging. If they refuse to leave, you may need to consult a lawyer before proceeding. The state of Illinois has enacted eviction laws to establish a lawful and peaceful framework for removing unwanted tenants from real property. The Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act clearly states:

"...no person has the right to take possession, by force, of premises occupied or possessed by another, even though such person may be justly entitled to such possession. The forcible entry and detainer statute provides the complete remedy at law for settling such disputes. Persons seeking possession must use this remedy at law for settling such disputes. Persons seeking possession must use this remedy rather than force."

In other words, you cannot physically force an unwelcome tenant to move out of your unit. This family member, guest, or friend technically holds possession of the property by the prior "oral agreement" of the person having a title claim. Because you initially allowed them to live with you, they can only be removed through the formal Illinois eviction process. Calling the police to remove your unwanted roommate physically will not be effective, as the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act applies to police officers and landlords. If your unwanted guest can prove that they were initially allowed to move in, they cannot be removed as a criminal trespasser.

So, what can you do? You'll have to formally terminate the unwanted guest's right to possession through a written 30-day notice to terminate their tenancy. If the individual still hasn't vacated the residence after 30 days, you have the right to file an eviction lawsuit. A judge can demand this individual vacate the apartment. This process can be very timely and costly. Still, it is the only way to legally evict an unwanted occupant to whom you gave possession of the property by either real or apparent permission.

Even if this person is a family member, or maybe never even paid rent, they do have tenancy. This tenancy can be proven by receiving mail at the property, owning a driver's license with the property's address, leaving belongings at the unit, having a key to the unit, sleeping at the residency regularly or semi-regularly, or even just claiming to live there. Believe it or not, not having paid rent is a non-issue.

If you're thinking about changing the locks on this person, reconsider. Because you initially allowed this person to live with you, locking them out is illegal. It may even result in a lawsuit against you! A wrongful eviction may subject you to legal liability, which can become very costly on your end.

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.

Posted 
November 16, 2020
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