Late, complaining tenants may not be so easy to evict

Posted1/11/2019 6:00 AM

Q. We have tenants who are driving us crazy. Constantly late with payments, complaints from our other tenants (we own a three-flat) and they are constantly complaining to us about incredibly minor stuff.

We would love for them to leave and find another tenant. Unfortunately, they have a written lease that runs through the end of May. Like I said, they are always late with rent but do always eventually pay. Is there any way to end this lease and get them out?

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A. The two most common ways landlords terminate leases is filing a forcible entry and detainer (eviction) action based upon failure to pay rent and filing an eviction action for failure to comply with the lease terms.

As you indicate, the tenants are current, though sometimes late with rent. Your more probable avenue for success would be to file the complaint based on the tenant's failure to comply with the terms of the lease.

You will need to read the lease to determine if the tenants are behaving in a way that violates the terms of the lease. Are they disturbing other tenants? Are they loud late at night? Are they causing damage? Many leases have somewhat general clauses that provide that the tenant will not take any action to disturb other tenants or will not cause any damage to the property. Some leases are more specific and detail limitations regarding noise, damage or large gatherings.

Evictions based upon lease violations other than rent are difficult to prove. You would need to present clear and convincing evidence that the tenant has violated a specific term of the lease.


You coming into court and testifying that the tenants are loud and your remaining tenants are complaining will probably not cut it. You would need specific testimony, from either yourself or other tenants as to dates, times and specific activities of the violating tenant.

If there is damage, pictures of the damaged areas are critical. One or two incidents also likely would not be sufficient. It would probably need to be a continuing stream of activity.

If at some point you feel you have sufficient evidence to support your claim, a 10-day Notice must be served on the tenant(s). Once the 10 days runs, you could file your case. I would strongly suggest speaking with an attorney before proceeding.

Q. My wife was checking our credit report and it appears to show that we still have a mortgage on our home. We paid off our mortgage years ago. How do we go about clearing this loan off our credit report.


A. I think I have addressed this previously, however, it is a common problem so let's go through this again. When you pay off your mortgage loan, your lender should execute a document called a Release Deed or Release of Mortgage. Once that document is recorded, it removes the mortgage lien from your title.

Sometimes, the lender fails to prepare the Release. Sometimes the lender prepares the Release and does not record it but sends it to the homeowner. The homeowner looks at it, says that's nice and files it away somewhere, ignoring the included statement in large black letters that states the document must be recorded. In either case, the mortgage lien remains on the property.

So, my first suggestion would be to look in any files that pertain to your home to determine if the Release was mailed to you and you failed to record it. If you have the Release, take it to your county recorder and have it recorded. If you don't have a Release, contact your lender and demand one. This is generally a fairly routine request. If your lender has gone out of business, things get a little trickier. Google the name of your lender and often the financial institution that succeeded your lender will be disclosed.

• Send your questions to attorney Tom Resnick, 345 N. Quentin Road, Palatine, IL 60067, by email to or call (847) 359-8983.

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