Winter Eviction? No Reason to Wait!
I hear this from new clients all winter long: “my tenant told me I can’t evict them because it’s winter!” Nonsense! You absolutely can file an eviction action any time of year, regardless of the season. The confusion seems to arise from the so-called “winter moratorium” on enforcement of orders for possession. The Circuit Court of Cook County currently has a standing order prohibiting the Sheriff from executing an order for possession if the temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, or “if extreme weather conditions endanger the health and welfare” of the people being evicted. It is certainly not a prohibition against carrying out all evictions during the winter. Although it may slow their enforcements down to some extent, the Sheriff definitely will carry out evictions for the rest of the winter, on days when those conditions do not exist.
Also keep in mind that the Court’s standing order only affects the enforcement of orders for possession; it does not impact any other part of the eviction process. The order for possession is the court order you receive once you win your case–it is the order directing the Sheriff to physically remove the tenants. In other words, it doesn’t affect your case until you actually obtain the order for possession at the end of your case. If you are just starting the eviction process, you are probably a long way from that goal. You must first serve your tenant with the appropriate eviction notice, then file your complaint in court after the notice period expired, then wait until the summons and complaint have been served on the tenant before your first day in court. It could be several weeks, or even months, before your case is even heard by a judge, depending on a number of factors such as the tenant’s evasiveness, whether they raise any defenses to your eviction action, and whether they demand a jury trial. It is therefore extremely important for you to get your case started now, and no purpose would be served by delaying.