So, You Want To Be A Landlord?

Great Aunt Martha just left you her house, great! Instead of selling it, wouldn’t it be better to rent it out for long term income? There are numerous issues to consider before answering this question. Do you have the time, skills, and financial resources to make necessary repairs? What happens if your tenant damages your property or doesn’t pay rent? Are you prepared for the time and expense involved in the event you have to evict your tenant?

The temperature is -14°, it’s a holiday, and your tenant calls to tell you that the furnace stopped working. Do you know how to fix it? Do you have the money to have someone else fix it? What happens if the answer to both questions is no? As a landlord in Illinois you must furnish a heat supply capable of maintaining room temperatures of at least 68°. Also, permitting the physical condition of your rental home to “become or remain in any condition which endangers the health or safety” of your tenants can leave you susceptible to a charge of criminal housing management – a Class A misdemeanor (720 ILCS 5/12/5.1).

One fall afternoon you drive by the property and discover that your tenants had a huge bonfire too close to the house and a large section of siding melted off, how do you handle this? Can you evict them? What if they haven’t paid rent in two months? Are these issues addressed in your lease agreement? There are certain procedures and specific forms to use for each scenario. The first could be considered a material breach of the lease, in which case a Ten-Day Notice to Quit is used for eviction purposes. For non-payment of rent, a Five-Day Notice to Quit is utilized.

Now all else has failed and you are in the middle of the eviction process. You think it should be easy because it’s your property and they haven’t paid any rent for months. Unfortunately for you, the tenants are countersuing for breach of their quiet enjoyment! How did this happen? What does this mean? These examples are just a few of the numerous issues to consider before becoming a landlord for the first time. It can be lucrative, but it can also lead to bankruptcy if you’re not careful, are unprepared, or unaware of the laws which govern landlords and tenants. Be sure to look before you leap!

**This post is informational only. Legal advice must be given on an individual basis. Please schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers for individual legal advice.**

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