How does the Cook County Circuit Court shutdown affect evictions?

Eviction Uncertainty?

Covid-19 affects us all.  You have probably seen that the Cook County Circuit Court has postponed most court business for 30 days.  Today marks the last day of “regular business” for the court.  During the period from March 17 through April 15, court business will be scaled back.  What does this mean for landlords and their tenant evictions in Cook County (and some of the surrounding counties)?

The press release from the Circuit Court indicate a few things that seem to impact evictions.

No civil trials to start

First, there will be no civil trials that will begin during the postponement period.  Does this mean that new case filings will get a longer return date than the usual two weeks?  I’ll let you know as soon as I file my next eviction but that is a possibility.

No orders for an eviction or foreclosure will be entered during the 30-day period 

Second, eviction orders are not going to be entered.

All civil matters not deemed an emergency are postponed to a future date.

Third, the cases that do come up will generally be continued for the time being.  I’m guessing (hoping) that won’t apply to motions for a special process server.

Civil lawsuits may still be filed in person or via electronic filing

Fourth, the court will be allowing the filing of new cases.  Again, I’m not sure what the return dates will be, but, as ever, it makes sense to get a jump on a long process.

What does all of this mean?  We are in unprecedented times.  We’ll see how this rolls out, but for now, landlords can do plenty.  They can serve eviction notices (5, 10, and 30 day notices), they can file cases, and they can have the Sheriff serve their tenants in those cases (the Sheriff is NOT serving routine summons right now).  The system takes a LONG time.  This will make it longer.  As a result, in those cases where a landlord can’t find a way to work with a tenant, there’s not many good reasons I can think of for a landlord to “call things off” until this virus craziness calms down.

About Richard Magnone

Co-founding member of Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC, attorney at law and Illinois licensed lawyer since 1996.
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