Supreme Court Rule 139: New Eviction Rule Benefits Tenants, Landlords, and Courts

Imagine being asked to go to court to defend yourself, but without knowing exactly what you are defending yourself against. This situation was all too common for many tenants in Illinois until the recent adoption of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 139. Rule 139 now requires plaintiff landlords to attach a copy of the eviction termination notice and any relevant lease provisions with the eviction complaint. This simple requirement ensures that tenants will be able to see the specific allegations against them prior to court, landlords will know up front they need to have all of the required paperwork before filing, and judges will have more complete case files reducing the need for discovery.

The CBF, through its partnerships with the Circuit Court of Cook County Pro Se Advisory Committee and the Illinois Supreme Court on Access to Justice, advocated for the adoption of this new Rule, recognizing the impact it would have on both access to justice and court efficiency. In addition to the benefits outlined above, the new requirements will also make it easier for pro bono and legal aid attorneys to quickly review and assess eviction cases and to offer information and advice. The many benefits of this Rule will be particularly important in the coming months as courts across the state see an increase in eviction filings as pandemic-related moratoriums and other tenant protections are lifted.