Self-Representation

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Our Legal Self-Help Centers make available correct and current information on Illinois law and court proceedings. A navigator is present during normal working hours to assist individuals with using the available computer and print resources. Be advised, Navigators and employees of the Circuit Clerk’s Office cannot give out legal advice or tell you which forms to fill out.

 

*For the latest information on COVID 19 and evictions in Illinois, including tenant declaration forms, click here

The Eviction Timeline 

Eviction is when a landlord makes a tenant leave an apartment, house, etc. Getting or giving an eviction notice can be very overwhelming. Take the time to educate yourself on the process by using the timeline below. 

 

  1. The eviction process begins when a tenant violates their lease, for example, by not paying the rent on time. 
  2. The landlord must give a written eviction notice to the tenant. It can be for 5, 7, 10, or 30 days, depending on the legal issue. The  tenant can stop an eviction for non-payment of rent by paying the rent in full during the notice period. In some types of subsidized  housing, the tenant also has the right to request a meeting with the landlord during the notice period to try and work things out.  
  3. After the notice period ends, the landlord can file an eviction case in court. The sheriff will serve the tenant with the complaint (says  what they are being sued for) and the summons (says when and where the first court date will be). 
  4. If the tenant misses the court date, the judge can enter a default judgment, granting what the landlord requested in the complaint  (usually eviction and money owed). But, if the tenant goes to court, the judge will ask whether the tenant agrees with the complaint.  If yes, the judge will ask how long the tenant needs to move out and enter an eviction order. If no, the judge will schedule a trial. 
  5. At the trial, both sides can present their evidence and testimony. If the tenant has a defense (a legal reason to stop the eviction), the  judge will dismiss the case. Otherwise, the judge will sign a court order approving the eviction and any money owed to the landlord. 
  6. The landlord must take the court order to the sheriff to schedule the actual eviction (the removal of the tenant and their belongings).  The eviction can happen any time after the date listed on the court order. 

How do I get help with an eviction? 

Refer to the HUD website for assistance understanding landlord/tenant rights and a list of organizations that may be able to provide legal assistance. If you want to read more about your rights as a tenant, you can use Prairie State Legal Services' Renters Handbook.   

Rent, Financial, and Information Resources

  • Winnebago County Rental Assistance Program - COVID Relief
    • Renters or Landlords in Winnebago County may be able to apply for assistance. If you do not have a computer or smart phone, please call 815-972-RENT and choose option #3.
  • Community Action Rental Assistance Program - COVID Relief
    • Renters or Landlords in Boone County and Winnebago County may be able to apply for assistance. If you do not have a computer or smart phone, please call 844-710-6919.
  • IHDA's Rental Payment Program - COVID Relief
    • An emergency rental assistance program designed to support households in Illinois that are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To apply, please visit the application site at https://ilrpp.ihda.org.
    • If you need access to a computer to complete your application, or help uploading documents, HomeStart may be able to help.
  • COVID H.E.L.P - COVID Relief
    • A free chat bot tool for people in Illinois who are facing housing and employment and other economic problems because of COVID-19. 
  • IDHS Office of Welcoming Centers - COVID Relief
    • If you are a refugee, immigrant, or have low English skills, you may qualify for assistance. 
  • City of Rockford Human Services Department
    • The community action agency for Winnebago County. Offers assistance with rent, mortgage, utility bills and more. Call 844-710-6919.
  • The Salvation Army- Belvidere
    • Offers assistance with rent/mortgage, food, emergency shelter. Visit in-person and ring the doorbell for assistance at 422 S. Main Street, Belvidere. Call 815-544-3892 for more information.
  • Call 2-1-1 or visit www.findhelp211.org for help with rent, utility, and food assistance and more.
  • Rentervention, an online tool that helps tenants with COVID-related issues. Rentervention can help tenants with such issues as preventing an eviction, applying for rental assistance, and finding emergency housing.
  • Visit helpillinoisfamilies.com to apply for assistance with rent, utility bills, food and more.
  • Catholic Charities provides emergency assistance. Call 815-544-5434.
  • Township General and Emergency Assistance:
    • If you are a resident of a township, your township may be able to provide General or Emergency Assistance to you. Contact information for a few townships is listed below.
      • Harlem Township: 815-633-9382
      • Rockford Township: 815-962-8855
      • Roscoe Township: 815-623-7323
  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Rockford Council provides assistance through several Catholic Churches in Winnebago County:
    • East Rockford: Holy Family Catholic Church (815-986-5825)
    • North Rockford: St Bridget Catholic Church (815-398-6060)
    • West Rockford: St. James Catholic Church (815-904-5226)
    • Central Rockford: St. Peter Catholic Church (815-965-2765)
    • Southeast Rockford: St. Rita Catholic Church (815-227-9031)
    • Durand: St. Mary / St. Patrick Catholic Church (815-274-5354)
    • South Beloit: St. Peter Catholic Church (779-772-1503)
  • The Salvation Army Social Services Center
    • 416 S. Madison Street in Rockford provides homelessness prevention and emergency assistance services. Call 815-972-1135 to make an appointment.
  • Heartland Community Church in Rockford runs a Care Ministries program that can provide some financial assistance. Call 815-395-8000.

Visit one of our self-help centers in person, use our Online Self Help Center to the right or visit ILAO for more resources and information. 

Winnebago County Self-Help Center

Winnebago County Courthouse
400 West State Street, Room 304 (inside the law library)
Rockford, Illinois 61101
Navigator's Hours: 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday
815-319-4526 or AskTheCourtNav@gmail.com

Boone County Self-Help Center

Boone County Courthouse
601 North Main Street  (inside the law library)
Belvidere, Illinois 61008
Navigator's Hours: 10 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday
815-547-8083

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400 W State St
Rockford, IL 61101