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Verella’s Round-Up: "HODGEPODGE"

verella osborne

Having just returned from a 24-day vacation this week, my brain is still in holiday mode. The following is a grab-bag of unrelated issues that have all arisen within the last few months:

  1. Increased Eviction Filing Fees: The Circuit Court of Cook County increased court filing fees for evictions by at least 50%, effective July 1, 2019. The Circuit Court has eliminated of much of its payroll and many of its personnel since mandated e-filing began.

    Also, for the first time in filing history, the court has affixed different fees depending on the type of eviction complaint filed. I started prosecuting my own evictions in 1975 and have processed evictions for attorneys since 1982. Until July 1st, there was no advantage to a landlord to file a “single action” eviction instead of a “joint action” complaint.

    • Single Action Complaint $287.00*
    • Joint Action Complaint to $14,999 $379.00*
    • Joint Action Complaint $15,000+ $388.00*
    * Plus the court “convenience fee” charged as a court cost when the case is e-filed.
    This ranges from $0.25 to $23.00, depending on how the fees are paid.
  2. Therefore, landlords can save some money by filing for possession only; however, be aware that almost 25% of eviction defendants now file jury demands. If you’ve already dropped your rent claim, you’re left with little negotiating power in those cases. So, make your decision on a case by case basis; if you have a troublesome tenant whom you believe may retain an attorney, it’s best to include a money claim. Of course, if the tenant is garnishable or if you want a judgment on his record for future collection, you will have to file a joint action.

  3. Hoarding: I added “no hoarding” language in our 2018 lease version, but as hoarding is deemed to be a mental illness under certain laws, landlords need to be careful regarding the wording. The breach of lease should not be the actual “hoarding,” which could be considered discriminatory, but how the hoarding affects the building and tenants, i.e., can’t block passageways or interfere with routine maintenance, can’t constitute hazardous or unsanitary conditions for other tenants, etc.
  4. Sheriff’s Refusal to Evict: The Sheriff of Cook County refused to enforce an Eviction Order of ours recently when they found the apartment was labeled slightly differently from the apartment number on the court order. This was a first floor of a rear coachhouse – which had only one first floor unit – but where the tenant had added an “E” on the mailbox.

    Regardless of the fact that there was only one first floor apartment in the entire building, and contradicting common sense, the deputy refused to enforce the order until we returned to court and amended the order. Therefore, I strongly suggest landlords check the mailbox and/or directory just before the Sheriff is scheduled and ensure they exactly match how the rental unit is designated in the eviction order.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer; remember that you’re welcome to contact me any time with a management problem or if you want any of our free forms.

 

 

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