My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Illinois.
First this is St. Clair County, Illinois and not Chicago or any other areas with special laws regarding evictions.
Second we are an active duty military family. Service Member (SM) is stationed in Kansas at the moment and Wife, myself, has medical stabilization in the St. Clair County Illinois area. Orders for Kansas Duty Station and report date were both after inquiring about renting the house but before signing the lease.
Lease Start date: 03JAN2019
House was filthy with dead insects absolutely everywhere. We spent 2 weeks cleaning it while also cleaning and repairing the house we were moving out of.
Moved household goods in 19JAN2019
Property Management Company (PMC) inspected property to ascertain the condition we were keeping it in: 07FEB2019
Yes that is correct, 2 weeks after all of our stuff was moved in.
PMC arrived to complete inspection and was told by they could not take pictures as the lease did not give them permission. I had previously consulted an attorney regarding this and was told that the lease has to specifically give then the right or they cannot do it without our permission. PMC rep said she would just be taking overall room pictures of each room for documentation. I still told her she could not and that if she needed a specific picture I would take it and email it to her. She then opened the front door and entered the home without me and started taking pictures of absolutely everything. She took 119 pictures of all of my belongings. You can see prescription medicine bottles in some of the pictures. During the inspection she was yelling at me, telling me the the service/support animals are pets and I am violating the no pet policy on the lease and that I have 2 kids more than allowed even though the occupancy permit isn't a problem for number of occupants total. There was a point I told her to leave because she was becoming out of control and threatening. I told her that I would be filing a discrimination complaint with HUD and IDHR. She said "Go right ahead and do that because I'm evicting you before anything can come of it"
2 days later I received the inspection report with 1"x2" copy and pasted pictures in it.
Upon reviewing the document I discovered that she had open my 12 passenger van and took pictures of the inside of it. I know she opened it because it has privacy tinted windows.
Later that evening I was served with a 10-day notice to vacate for violating sections 8, 10, 11, and 27 of the lease unless I fixed the problems, otherwise the lease is terminated 19FEB2019. That's all it said which is not a legal notice as it has to have what the violations actually are. Section 27 has 19 subsections and section 11 refers to 3 different items.
I filed the complaint for discrimination 20FEB2019
They scheduled a reinspect for 21FEB2019 and did not show
They filed in court a Complaint for Eviction 25FEB2019
I requested copies of the original image files 26FEB2019
I was ignored
They billed, I paid, and the accepted rent for March 2019
1st appearance was 18MAR2019
I motioned for stay of proceeding based on military service out of state and it was granted but not for the full minimum Federal requirement of 90 days. It was 60 days and status hearing was set for 20MAY2019
They motioned for reconsideration of stay order
They billed, I paid, and the accepted rent for April 2019
Motion hearing 08APR2019
I motioned for their Motion to be denied and the full 90 days stay issued as required by law.
Their Motion was denied and my motion was ignored and handed back to me and the status hearing was canceled and case set for trial 20MAY2019. Basically even less days to prepare for trial.
Filed for Discovery under Rule 214
I asked for several documents and a witness list
I then had to file for Discovery closure in order to get them to comply
They billed, I paid, and the accepted rent for MAY 2019
07MAY2019 they came to do another inspection after we told them they could not do one unless my husband was home due to their behavior at the other one and the active cases. They were told he would be home the evening of the 9th and could do the inspection that Friday, the 10th. The lease does say or at any other reasonable time requested by tenant. They have always refused to schedule an inspection when he will be home. I told them that if they showed up before Friday I would call the police on them for trespassing which is what I did. The police took it upon themselves to let the 4 reps from the PMC into the house and allow them to take pictures against my refusal and made my stay in the living room during the inspection while they gave these 4 individuals free rein. The sheriff's Department is investigating the actions of the Deputy and stated that the Deputy should never have let them in the home at all without a court order. This time they took 383 pictures of all my belongings as well as of the home.
motion hearing 09MAY2019
Their attorney handed me an envelope with a flash drive in it and told the court that the flash drive contained everything I asked for.
I asked the court to also order the landlord to fill out the reply deny document I served him and the Plaintiffs attorney objected stating that the landlord is not a party to the case and as such does not have to do so.
Court agreed and closed down the discovery
Upon arrival home I opened the flash drive and there was a document titled Answer to Discovery request and on it they refused to provide almost everything requested involving the landlord saying it wasn't relevant because he isn't a party to the case
they refused to give me a witness list saying they are not required to create a document that doesn't already exist under rule 214
Rule 214 doesn't actually say that
I did get their management contract with the landlord which specifically says they have to get the landlords permission to even start an eviction process. I specifically requested this document because the landlord is my neighbor and he told me he didn't know anything about an eviction and didn't want to evict us.
20MAY2019: Trial date
I started with a motion for judgement as a matter of law
rent was accepted for 3 months after they know of a lease violation and they did not motion the court for use and occupancy so that they could continue accepting rent without waiving their right to evict for the grounds stated in the 10-day notice. Motion was denied. Court stated that that only applies to cases where rent is behind. I tried to argue the motion and cite the ILCS and case laws but he would not listen to me or read my actual motion.
I objected to them calling a witness on the grounds that they refused to supply witness list and even though I requested under rule 214 it is not in the spirit of the law to not give a witness list during discovery when documents were being requested.
at one point their attorney stated that the landlord is a party to the case and I objected as that would mean that the Plaintiff did not comply with discovery because the landlord did not have to fill out the document he was served with because their attorney stated during the hearing on the discovery that the landlord was not a party to the case. The judge and attorney basically talked in circles and them ignored me
I objected to any pictures being presented as they were specifically forbidden to be taken.
Judge literally told me I was wrong for not listing the service/support animals as pets because all animals are pets. He said that if you own the animal and it lives with you it is a pet and nobody has to allow pets if they don't want to. He even asked me what a service animal even is.
He said that the pictures speak for themselves and the house is being destroyed. He said, "Just look at this one of the sink, there's dirty dishes in it." He told us that there shouldn't ever be any dirty dishes anywhere except in the dishwasher because it will cause a bug infestation and bread bacteria
The house was not dirty, unclean, or unsanitary. It was cluttered due to the move, my being limited on how much I can physically do daily, and Service Member only being home to help unpack on Saturdays. There weren't even enough dirty dishes to fill the dishwasher and the dishwasher was running. We have 7 children and we make full home cooked meals and all sit down at the table to eat. Every meal equals 2 loads of dishes.
We offered to have an unbiased 3rd party inspect the house without notice. He asked who that would be. We said child services. He said no and gave his verdict.
He decided to only rule on the cleanliness of the house and base it off of the PMC reps word.
Gave us until 15JUNE2019 to move out and ordered all fees of Plaintiff be paid by us and ordered that for June rent we pay half a month in order to stay until 15JUN2019 and that amount was $925 to be paid by 01JUN2019.
We told him that short of a time frame would be impossible for us to move in as we have to repack and find another place, one that will rent to us with a fresh eviction and so far there is nothing even on the market large enough to house our family. it took us 4 months just to get into this house from the initial enquiry to the signing of the lease. From the application the the approval it was 2 weeks and another week before we received the lease to sign and 3 more day until we got the keys. That process took more time than what he is giving us. The house before that took almost 2 months from application date until we had the keys. He didn't care.
I was not able to supply any of my own pictures because my oldest daughter, who does not live with me, took the pictures with her camera because it would show much greater detail than a phone does and was hit by a semi 3 and a half hours away 3 days before court and all of the photographic evidence was in the car which we could not retrieve by the court date. The judge said "well isn't that convenient. She was ok but the car is totaled, and it was my car.
When I received his typed order he changed the reason for denying the motion for verdict as a matter of law. My guess is that after he read it he realized he was wrong and should have granted it so he changed it to a reason that was based on evidence submitted at trial as well as information learned at trial through Plaintiff testimony. All items and information he did not even know existed when he ruled on the motion.
PMC posts their billing on the 25th of the month so I went into my account with them on the 25th to pay the bill for June which should have been $925 but they charged the full months rent $1,850 so I paid it and they accepted it. I printed everything to PDF including the receipt and the transaction ledger which shows how much they billed. ILCS states that if after a judgement is entered the plaintiff bills and/or accepts more rent than ordered they have reinstated the lease and vacated the judgement through their actions.
So I am looking at doing a post-judgement motion to reconsider the denial of the Motion for verdict as a matter of law with case final judgement vacated and lease reinstated
If that doesn't work then a motion to vacate judgement and rule in favor of Defendant due to Plaintiff reinstating the lease through their actions
Then if that does not work appeal with stay of execution of eviction order as well as complaints against judge to review boards
To add insult to injury my husband hit a deer a couple of days later and totaled our SUV and 2 other cars went down, one now needs a new engine and the other is misfiring really bad, then our other vehicles 7th cylinder in the engine stopped firing and my husbands motorcycle decided to just stop running. So we are down to just our van. There's absolutely no way we can get moved by 15JUN2019 with everything happening all at once.
I need advice and direction on this stuff. If there's an attorney that can assist me with it all for a low fee as I can do all the research and documents, just need the advice, document review, and direction, maybe some document examples for me to follow for creating mine.