Proper Service of a Five-Day Notice

If you are an Illinois landlord, you may have had the misfortune to come across a tenant who refuses to pay rent. What should you do? Serve a five-day notice. How should you serve the notice? Properly. What does service of a proper notice involve?

1) The notice should be worded properly. For more information on the proper wording of a five-day notice, click here.

2) The notice should be served properly. According to the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Statute, a five-day notice must be served by a) personal delivery, b) leaving the notice with a person who is at least 13 years old and resides at the property, or c) sending the notice to the tenant via certified or registered mail. In the event that the tenant has vacated the premises and no one is living there, you can also post notice on the tenant’s door.

Before sending a five-day notice, you should check with your attorney and make sure it is correct in every way. Improperly phrased or served five-day notices can hurt your chances in court. Even if you make it through trial, an improperly served five-day notice can cause landlords a lot of headache at appeal. In fact, in a recent court decision, American Management Consultant, LLC v. Carter (2009 Ill.App.LEXIS 530, 3rd Dist., 2009), the landlord lost the appeal, even after winning at trial, because, among other reasons, the service of his five-day notice was deemed improper.