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Can Landlords Evict Tenants During Cold Weather?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Contrary to a popular myth among renters, a landlord can attempt to evict a tenant during any time of the year, even the dead of winter. Despite the seemingly cruel notion of kicking a person out of their home when the weather outside is frightful, for a landlord, business pressures often require goodwill towards mankind to take a backseat. Sadly, winter time evictions can have fatal results for the elderly and impoverished.

For landlords, business usually dictates evictions. If a tenant is causing a nuisance, or committing waste, it is bad for business. If a tenant is not paying rent, that's definitely bad for business. The only remedy a landlord has, apart from bringing a different type of legal action solely for the recovery of back rent or property damage, is seeking to evict and re-rent the property to a new tenant that will be better for their business.

The Eviction Process Takes a Long Time

Generally, the eviction process, also called an unlawful detainer, is costly to landlords, in both time and money. In most jurisdictions, evictions will take at the very least a month to complete the court process, and then at least a week or two for law enforcement to process the eviction. In most cases, the full legal eviction process will take a couple months, and law enforcement processing between two to four weeks.

Not only do many tenants stop paying rent when the process starts (assuming they were even still paying), but attorney fees and court costs add up. This means that it is in a landlord's best business interest to start the eviction process as soon as possible in order to the finish the process as soon as possible and begin making money again.

The Truth Behind the Cold Weather Myth

Once a landlord is successful in an eviction action in court, the court will give the landlord a court order stating that a tenant can be removed from the premises, which the landlord can provide to law enforcement to carry out (meaning physically remove the evicted tenant).

In many jurisdictions, such as Cook County, Illinois, sheriff and police departments have policies to not process eviction orders if the weather is below a certain temperature, or during the holiday season. Unfortunately for landlords, law enforcement is required to enforce eviction orders issued by the court, so that means if the local law enforcement doesn't process evictions in below freezing weather, a landlord may lose more potential revenue while waiting for the eviction to be enforced.

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