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How to Evict a Family Member in Illinois

Family members living together usually starts out well enough. A cousin or brother or daughter decided to become roommates to share expenses or a cousin, uncle, son or other family member needed a place to stay. Things were fine for awhile, but after time, they started to go downhill and now it's time for a family member to leave. Except he or she won't go. So what to do now? How to evict a family member in Illinois?


Evicting an Illinois Family Member is Tricky

In Illinois, getting rid of a family member depends on a number of factors.

Is the Family Member on the Lease?

If the family member is on the lease, then no one in the home with him or her has the authority to kick him or her out.


That authority lies directly with the landlord, but even a landlord needs a legally valid reason to throw someone out if that person is on the lease.

These reasons usually include not paying rent, using the home for illegal purposes or otherwise breaking the terms of the lease in some way.

The exception to this is if the family member is threatening or violent toward others in the home. If this is the case, then the court can issue a restraining order and the family member must leave immediately.

It's worth remembering that a family member on the lease is actually a co-tenant and has much right to live in the rental space as everyone else in the home.

Now What?

Unfortunately for people who live in Illinois, options are limited if the brother, son, cousin or other family member is on the lease. Politely asking him or her to leave is an option, but this doesn't always work and can lead to more conflict.

If the family member signed an agreement outlining rules of the house, everything from noise limits to cleaning duties and he or she breaks the agreement, then he or she probably cannot be evicted but can be sued for damages in small claims court.

Examples might include a son-in-law having loud parties that prevent house members from getting work done at home or a brother not paying his share of the utilities.

renters rights

While these situations could be grounds for suing, the risk is that suing may anger the family member but not enough to make him or her move out.

Talking to the landlord to see if he can get the family member to budge is an option, but most landlords are content to leave things be as long as they are getting their rent and their property is not being damaged.

An exception would be if the landlord sees that the sister is breaking the lease in some way, such as selling drugs from the home (illegal use of the property) or has a dog when pets are specifically forbidden in the lease.

This can be tricky, though, because the family member could claim that the dog belongs to everyone in the house and the landlord could decide to evict everyone all at once. In Illinois, this is particularly true if the lease has a joint and/or several liability clause, which essentially means that all the tenants on a lease can be held responsible for what other tenants do.

The landlord might be a reasonable person (or corporation), though, and decide to evict only the family member. If this is the case, it will take time. A landlord must follow the law, which involves giving the family member notice of the eviction and time to remedy the situation.


For example, if the grounds for the eviction are that the cousin has a dog and pets are forbidden according to the lease, then the landlord has to give the cousin adequate time to find the dog a new home. If the cousin does this, then he or she cannot be evicted. He or she can stay in the home and chances are he or she will not be a happy camper.

It is possible, too, that the family member may just ignore the eviction notice and decide to stay in the home. In this case, the landlord will have to go to court to ask a judge to tell the family member to go. If the judge agrees, then the sheriff will come to escort the family member out of the property. If, though, the landlord loses in court, then the family member can legally stay.

Things That Cannot Be Done with Regard to an Illinois Family Member

No matter how obnoxious a family member is, there are things that the state of Illinois says cannot legally be done to make him or her vacate the home.

For example, he cannot be threatened and no one can change the locks to prevent him or her from accessing the home. No one can take the family member's personal property. If someone does these things, he or she may be looking at criminal charges. No family member/roommate is worth that.

Is the Family Member Not on the Lease?

If the family member is not on the lease, then there are more options for getting rid of him or her.

This can be tricky, too, though. If the family member is not on the lease because he or she came to stay without the landlord knowing, then the other people in the home could be breaking the lease terms and end up facing eviction.


If, though, a family member is staying with the landlord's express or implicit permission - many landlords will let a family member stay in the home without signing the lease, or they will turn a blind eye to an extra tenant - then the family member is considered a sublettor with a sublease and can be evicted.

There are rules to follow, though. Illinois requires that a family member receive at least 30 days notice to find a new place to live and move out (please check with an attorney to verify this timeframe and it is subject to change as Illinois eviction laws change).


This notice is called a Notice to Quit. The notice must be handed to the family member and sent via certified mail so that there is proof that he or she received it. A copy should be kept.

If the family member ignores the Notice to Quit eviction notice, an Eviction Complaint and a Summons to Appear in Court can be filed with the local county clerk. This means going to court.

In court, the person initiating the eviction should state his or her case clearly and present all relevant documentation. He or she should also be prepared to be stuck with the family member and have to pay his legal costs if he wins the case.

If the landlord is aware of the family member and is a decent person (or company), then aksing landlord to help evict the family member might be an option. The downside with this that is the landlord - even a tolerant one - might just decide having the extra roommate in the home is breaking the lease terms and evict to everyone and start fresh.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is evicting a family member in Illinois is not easy. Evicting anyone anywhere is not easy, even for landlords with solid legal grounds. It is a complicated, contentious and often costly endeavor.

Get Help

Ask an Illinois Eviction Law Question, Get an Answer ASAP!

If, though, it is time to evict a family member, then it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Illinois eviction lawyer before proceeding. One small misstep could mean the family member is not the only one having to look for a new home.



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