Illinois landlords must follow specific rules and procedures when evicting a tenant (see the article How Evictions Work: What Renters Need to Know, on this site). The state forbids landlords from taking the law into their own hands. Examples of illegal “self-help” evictions include changing the locks, removing the front door, or turning off the heat or electricity.
Depending on the situation, a tenant may sue a landlord for an illegal eviction. If you decide to do so, check Illinois law. For example, 765 Ill. Comp. Stat. 735/1.4 prohibits certain types of landlord interruption of tenant utilities, with a few exceptions such as emergencies. See the Laws and Legal Research section of this site for advice on finding and reading statutes. And before filing a lawsuit, be sure to consult with an attorney who is experienced with landlord-tenant law in Illinois. See the article Tips on Hiring and Working With Lawyers on this site for advice.
If you feel that a landlord has acted illegally in terminating your tenancy, it’s also a good idea to get advice from a local tenants’ rights group in Illinois. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website includes information on tenant advocates for each state. See http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/rental_assistance/tenantrights for details.
For a wide range of other articles of interest to tenants, see the Renters’ and Tenants’ Rights section on this site.