Sometimes, landlords can be confused by the terminology they may hear in the eviction courts in Illinois. When an attorney steps up before a judge in the eviction court, he or she will recite a sort of preamble to the case. After introductions, the plaintiff’s attorney might hand up an eviction notice, a 5 day notice for nonpayment of rent, for example, and will say “your honor, this is a joint action proceeding on a landlord’s five day notice”. Other plaintiff’s attorneys hand up a notice, say a 30 day notice in this case, and say “your honor, this is a single action proceeding on a landlord’s thirty day notice”.
What’s the difference between a single action eviction and a joint action eviction? Its actually quite simple. Whether an action is single or joint depends upon the remedy the landlord is seeking from the court. Landlords bringing a single action eviction are seeking only possession of the premises while landlords bringing a joint action eviction are seeking possession and rent.
Thus, it would be more common for a landlord proceeding on a thirty day notice terminating a month to month tenancy to bring a single action and a landlord proceeding on a five day notice for nonpayment of rent to bring a joint action. That said, any landlord can bring a single action and leave the rent count out of the eviction case, although I don’t think it would be wise for any landlord to do that. A landlord bringing a joint action could always decide not to pursue the money count (ie. non-suit or dismiss the count without prejudice) or could negotiate a way the judgment in settlement negotiations).