Reforming use and occupancy in chicago s eviction courts
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Reforming Use and Occupancy in Chicago’s Eviction Courts. Overview of Eviction Court at the Daley Center. High volume Over 40 thousand cases filed Summary process Mostly nonpayment of rent. Landlords v. Tenants.

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Overview of eviction court at the daley center l.jpg
Overview of Eviction Court at the Daley Center

  • High volume

    • Over 40 thousand cases filed

  • Summary process

  • Mostly nonpayment of rent


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Landlords v. Tenants

Source – No Time for Justice – Study by Lawyers Committee for Better Housing and Chicago-Kent



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Statutes

  • Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act

  • Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RLTO).

  • Other laws: Rental Property Utility Service Act, Retaliatory Eviction Act, IL Human Rights Act, Condominium Property Act


Use and occupancy l.jpg
Use and Occupancy

  • Like “rent” during litigation

  • How it works

    • Prior to 1990’s

    • Only in cases with jury demand

    • Separate hearing

    • Court always awards something


Why tenants do not always pay use and occupancy l.jpg
Why tenants do not always pay use and occupancy

  • Simply too poor to pay, and has no defenses.

  • May not realize the consequences.

  • Rightfully “withheld” rent, but spent the money.


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If tenant does not pay U and O, court enters a default judgment against tenant.

  • No trial on the merits

  • Bad landlords benefit

  • Judgment continues to prevent tenant from getting decent housing


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Protects small landlord from losing money judgment against tenant.

If landlord loses money this can hurt other tenants.

Prevents tenant from falling further into debt in case landlord wins.

May help gain more respect with eviction court judges.

Why the court should award use and occupancy


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Why the current practice MUST be reformed judgment against tenant.

  • Currently, the Chicago eviction court exceeds its statutory authority.

  • Default Judgments are strongly disfavored.

  • Current practice undermines purpose of summary evictions.



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Other jurisdictions current practice

  • All other jurisdictions order tenant to pay $ to the court.

  • Some have explicit statutory provisions governing U and O.

  • Some enter protective orders pursuant to court’s common law authority.


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Or… skip use and occupancy altogether and go straight to trial

  • When tenant raises conditions defenses but cannot pay use and occupancy

  • Advantages v. Disadvantages


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