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The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing Eviction Defense Training.

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Presentation on theme: "The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing Eviction Defense Training."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing Eviction Defense Training

2 About LCBH… Founded in Rogers Park in 1980. Core belief: all persons have a right to safe, decent, and affordable housing on a non-discriminatory basis. Recommended reading: (go to: LCBH Publications ) LCBH Publications –“Time to Move: The Denial of Tenants’ Rights in Chicago’s Eviction Court;” (1995) –“No Time for Justice: A Study of Chicago’s Eviction Court.” (2003).

3 What we do… Serve Chicago’s low-income tenants through: –Legal Representation –Policy and Advocacy Work –Social Services –Education

4 Evictions in Chicago : 1996: –40,000 eviction cases filed in Cook County –90% of tenants appeared pro se – 95% of them evicted –This dropped by 50% w/ tenants represented by attorneys 2005: –31,000 evictions filed –> 6,000 families evicted by Cook County 2008: –Sheriff Dart ordered a temporary moratorium on evictions, read about it **Because of our dedicated volunteers, we improve the lives of over 400 families each year…

5 Pro Bono Opportunities Affordable Housing Preservation Project (AHPP) Attorney of the Day (AOD) Start-to-Finish Eviction Defense Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention Project (TFIP) Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP) Research Security Deposit Recovery Project

6 Eviction Case Basics Law Court & LCBH Process Trial Negotiation & Settlement Judgments Post-trial

7 Key, Relevant Law Federal: Fair Housing Act (42 USC § 3601 et seq.)Fair Housing Act –Prohibits discrimination & sexual harassment –LL must make reasonable accommodations Illinois: Forcible Entry and Detainer Act Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq) –procedure for evictions & judgments for unpaid rent Rental Property Utility Services Act Rental Property Utility Services Act (765 ILCS 735/1) –Protects tenants from “utility tap” or LL’s interfering with a Tenant; triple damages ** This is not an exhaustive list, for more statutes that govern Landlord-Tenant relationships in Illinois, go

8 Chicago Law Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, “RLTO” –Broader than IL law and supersedes IL law –Key provisions (that permit damages and attorney’s fees): 5-12-080: Security deposit protections 5-12-110: Habitability; includes withholding 5-12-150: Retaliatory conduct 5-12-160: Lockout prohibition

9 The Eviction Process 1.Notice 2.Filing 3.Service 4.LCBH 5.Trial (multiple steps) 6.Post-trial

10 Notice Termination notice required before filing Notice must : describe premises & provide cure period Types: 5-day: non-payment of rent 7-day: week-to-week tenancy 10-day: breach of lease term 30-day: month-to-month tenancy Service: To T To someone 13 years or older Certified mail Posting

11 Filing Only after tenancy terminated –Proper termination notice –No cure by tenant Two options –“Single action” –“Joint action”

12 Service of Summons After filing, T must be served with summons Court date must be at least 7 days after service Methods: –Personal –Substitute –Special order of court –Constructive If service by publication, no money damages If improper service, and no jurisdiction, any judgment will be void

13 LCBH Process Intake –Preliminary –Interview –Legal Team Review – reject & refer, or accept & strategy Accepted cases –Retainer –Appearance & Jury Demand filed First hearing –Transfer Order –Motion to Quash –Discovery (14-day order)

14 Client Interviews/Meetings -Ask questions Explain why – e.g., trying to discern discrimination Consider T’s background and experience -Inform T of each party’s rights -Do not be hasty -Materials

15 Early/Preliminary Motions Motion to quash service by summons, posting or publication –Improper/missing information on the summons –Difficult if there is an affidavit of service –Special process server easier to challenge (no presumption of validity) 2-615 Motion to Dismiss (less common) –Defective pleadings –Eviction complaints – very basic 2-619 Motion to Dismiss –Multiple grounds –If not apparent from pleadings, need affidavit –Primary grounds – no jurisdiction

16 Court Process: Overview, I Before 1 st Court Appearance by Attorney Retainer agreement; LCBH filing on 6th floor Conflicts Check if needed If 1st date, no attorney – T can get continuance 9:20 am: meet LCBH attorney (Gerard O’Toole) &/or Pro Bono Coordinator on the 14 th floor of Daley Center Checking in with clerk – be clear

17 Court Process: Overview, II 1 st Court Appearance Review case file(s), find line number, check in with clerk –Be Clear Speak to tenant, opposing counsel or landlord (if pro se) for any settlement opportunities Step up, present the court & LL with a copy of the Appearance & Jury Demand Transfer Order in file – fill in date Hand the orders to the judge Clerk stamps copies – one to plaintiff, rest in file ***NOTES***

18 Court Process: Overview, III 2 nd Court Appearance Jury courtroom of Judge Garber, Room 1404 Request 14 days to answer complaint or otherwise plead and 14 days to initiate discovery Use and Occupancy motion, request 14 days to respond; the judge will give a status date Draft order and put copies in clients file –If opposing counsel drafts order, make sure it is correct and get a copy If case has settled, enter an agreed order Initiate settlement talks –Find out what is feasible for T –What LL willing to allow ***NOTES***

19 Court Process: Overview, IV 3rd Court Appearance One of the following will occur:  Use and Occupancy Hearing (U&0)  Testimony about condition of premises  Pictures!  Motion Hearing – usually motions to dismiss  Discovery Status Hearing  Agreed Order – if settlement

20 Court Process: Overview, V 4 th Court Appearance One of the following will occur…  Discovery Status Hearing: discovery disputes resolved or pre-trial conference  Settlement Status – agreed order or 14 days to answer/plead/initiate discovery  Use and Occupancy Sanctions Hearing: If client has not paid U and O - LL will seek an order of possession - This sanction only if non-payment was willful

21 Negotiation and Settlement, I Damages Breach of Warranty of Habitability –determine how much the apt would be worth on the housing market, given the conditions, and then determine how much rent was overpaid Retaliation (2x rent + attorney’s fees) Discrimination or lockout – can get damages for emotional distress

22 Negotiation and Settlement, II If Tenant wants to move…. –Often rent claims traded for possession –If the tenant has a good claim(s) and could receive damages, may get the tenant more rent- free time in the apartment in exchange for a waiver of the claim(s). –Tenant can also agree to move and collect cash settlement

23 Negotiation and Settlement, III If Tenant wants to stay… –More difficult to settle –If good counter-claims, can offset rent claims; T can "pay and stay" –In many cases the tenant will pay back rent and then be allowed to stay in the apartment

24 Negotiation and Settlement, IV Negotiation Tips If there is a discrimination claim, preserve the claims for future proceedings Be careful about security deposit claims Try to avoid an order of possession as part of the settlement –Goes on permanent record –Better to negotiate a settlement for a date when T will be out of possession –And set a compliance status hearing

25 Court Process: Pre-Trial Conference Judge will call attorneys to chambers to see whether the case can be settled Tell the judge the status of the case –Judge will push a settlement and indicate how he’s leaning Judge will sometimes call the clients in If case is settled, enter agreed order. If not, set trial date.

26 Trial: Basics, I Landlord will often insist on an early trial date, as soon as six weeks Be prepared to explain why more time is needed to complete discovery/dispose of motions Most cases are resolved before trial, but some do go to trial Jury trials usually take 2-3 days if both sides have an attorney

27 Trial: Basics, II Plaintiff must establish his Prima Facie Case - Right to possession - T has possession though he violated law/lease - Tenancy terminated - Amount of rent owed if joint action If Plaintiff/LL unable to establish – T entitled to judgment as a matter of law

28 Trial: Defenses, I Only germane defenses Germane defenses include: –Plaintiff is not a proper party –Retaliation against the T –Discrimination by LL –Notice not served properly (see section on service) –Notice did not give the proper number of days –Eviction action filed too early

29 Trial: Defenses, II More Germane Defenses (if applicable)… –T owed no rent – either improper action or cured before termination –Defendant tried to give the plaintiff rent due before the notice expired but LL refused to accept –LL failed to comply with building codes - breach of implied warranty of habitability –Defendants are withholding the amount of rent owed in compliance with the Rental Property Utility Services Act or RLTO

30 Trial: Defenses, III Germane Defenses...when a lease violation alleged: –Defendant never committed the violation, or cured it (no further violation) –The conduct does not constitute a material lease violation –Plaintiff accepted rent that accrued after the plaintiff learned about the violation –If no reason given for terminating the tenancy, then defendant has a lease in effect –Retaliation claims

31 Judgments, I Single Actions: –If LL wins - possession of premises plus costs –Court can stay enforcement of judgment –If defendant wins, entitled to possession of premises plus costs

32 Judgments, II Joint Actions: –If plaintiff/LL wins - possession, rent owed and court costs –Plaintiff/LL can accept rent between judgment and expiration of the stay and still be able to enforce the judgment –Plaintiff/LL can not take rent after the stay expires and still get possession

33 Judgments, III Default Judgments: –If defendant does not show up in court court 1st determines if it has jurisdiction over defendant court must ensure that proper notices were served only then can default judgment against defendant be entered –If plaintiff does not show up in court Court should dismiss case for want of prosecution

34 Judgments, IV Expiration of judgments for possession: **Forcible Act states that no judgment for possession can be enforced more than 120 days after the judgment is entered unless the court grants plaintiff’s motion for extension

35 Post-Trial/Judgment Motions Vacating a judgment for possession on the grounds that the plaintiff reinstated tenancy Motions to vacate default judgments pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1301(e) Motions to Reconsider Possible Appeals

36 THE END Thank you for your interest in LCBH and our volunteer programs If you have further questions or would like to schedule a time to volunteer call Caitlin Ewing at 312-347-7600 Ext. 530 or email

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