I was recently contacted by a property owner who inquired about removing a tenant who is renting a room in the property owner’s house. I explained to the property owner that the procedures of the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act must be satisfied to remove the tenant.
The property owner then informed me that ‘there is no lease’ and that the tenant has to leave as ‘it is my house’. Many landlords feel this way.
However, whether there is a lease or not does not matter. In fact, in most situations, there is a lease – it is just not a written lease. However, whenever a property owner rents a room, a house, a condominium, or other residential structure, either by oral or written lease or merely by voluntarily granting possession to the premises, the occupant establishes a tenancy. That tenancy can only be terminated by the occupant either (1) voluntarily turning over possession to the landlord or (2) by a Sheriff enforcing an order for possession obtained from a judge in a forcible entry and detainer (eviction) case.
In fact, the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act was specifically designed to require that landlords comply with its procedures to take back property from a tenant who will not voluntarily yield possession as a way of keeping the peace. Otherwise, people would handle evictions with baseball bats. Illinois landlords gain no advantage by not having a written lease.