Possession isn't everything. Without a money judgment the eviction case is only half-won.
As the first part of a series investigating Chicago's rumored bias towards tenants in the residential rental sector, I did the general stats on eviction numbers in Chicago last week by means of a study of the First Municipal Circuit Court of Cook County's online dockets. I'm sure at least a few of you read that and are wondering what's up with the unpaid rent. Previously I only counted cases where possession was given back to the landlord. But these cases are brought to court when rent doesn't get paid for a long time. They're called Joint Action suits. The landlord wants not only possession, but the money back. If they win only possession, they've only won half of the case.
Now, Chicago judges are notorious for being tough to squeeze for rent judgments. Many landlords are encouraged to seek possession only, but if you're going to pay $237 in filing fees and take a day to head down to the Daley Center you probably want to get some cash out of it, too.
Today I'm following the money. If you're starting here, you may want to go back and read last week's entry (linked above) as I'm using the same methodology here. (more…)
The Daley Center. Where Chicago landlords and tenants go to fight.
One of the most common complaints I hear from would-be investors is that Chicago is biased in favor of the tenant when it comes to evictions and enforcement of the laws.
Today we're starting what will probably be a very lengthy process of analyzing whether or not this myth has any teeth. Using the Cook County Clerk of Court's public dockets, I've (somewhat painstakingly) gone through case after case to give you an idea of the eviction stats. Cook County (and most jurisdictions) refer to these cases as "forcible entry and detainer" or "joint complaint" suits. They are handled at the civil level and can be filed either with an attorney's help or without, also known as pro se.
Total Eviction cases opened at the 1st Municipal (Chicago) Cook County Circuit Courthouse
In 2010: 30609 (122.4 per non-holiday weekday)
In 2011: 31074 (124.3 per non-holiday weekday)
From Jan 1 through May 10, 2012: 10422 (115.8 per non-holiday weekday)
Estimated total rental units in Chicago, 2011: 549328 (Source: )
Approximate Eviction rate: 5.6% per year
So those are some pretty impressive numbers, but let's look at the story of a couple of individual days. I've chosen the first days of February, March and April 2012 as decent snapshots. (more…)