Join Everyday Law and our guest, Attorney Amy Strege of Finn & Finn, as we discuss evictions and landlord/tenant law!

Amy Strege is a partner at Finn & Finn, Ltd in Waukegan (telephone – (847)-599-0202, Finn & Finn is a general practice firm that focuses on property law. Strege has a background in environmental law and experience in personal injury and landlord/tenant law.

Strege always wanted to be a lawyer. She grew up with a healthy respect for the law as her mother was a police officer, her grandmother worked for a City Attorney and her father had some landlord interests. As a child growing up in rural West Virginia, she grew up with a love of the environment. That interest was furthered by her college internship as a junior lobbyist and bill runner for an environmental group with the West Virginia legislature. Strege attended Chicago-Kent College of Law because it has an excellent environmental law program.

After graduating from law school, Strege worked as a personal injury attorney in Chicago. She enjoyed that work as she derived satisfaction from helping people and even had a few cases that touched the environmental law field. Strege came to Lake County at the invitation of Finn & Finn, Ltd., when they were looking for a lawyer with both an environmental and general law background.

Strege has kept busy outside her law practice with a radio show called the “Good $ense Radio Show”. The Good $ense movement is a Christian financial education program based on biblical principles. Strege handles the legal perspective for the radio show. Additionally, she is active with the Lake County Bar Association and has been named “Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year” for 2 years.

Much of Strege’s work is landlord-tenant practice. Such cases stem from non-payment of rent and eviction. The process starts with serving the tenant with a 5 day notice, which gives the tenant 5 days to come up to date on rent. If the tenant fails to pay within 5 days, the landlord will usually serve a summons and complaint, called a Forcible Entry and Detainer and will have a return date listed when the tenant must show up in court. At that point, the judge determines if service was properly made on the tenant. Additionally, at that time, the tenant and landlord may try to come to an agreement and have an agreed order entered. Alternatively, the case may be set for trial. All the necessary forms can be found on the Lake County Circuit Clerk’s website.

The main issue for a forcible entry and detainer case is whether the rent was paid. Inability to pay rent due to such things as job loss, medical bills or divorce is no defense. A tenant may however have a case if inability to pay rent was due to another condition such as toxic mold or the necessity of making repairs. If a tenant loses their case, it is always a good idea to ask for as much time as possible to vacate the property.

An important issue of landlord-tenant law is the security deposit. The security deposit is not supposed to be used for rent, but used to take care of the condition of the property. To ensure the return of their security deposit, it is a good idea for tenants to take lots of pictures of the property as they move out.