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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33791
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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We have been in our home yrs. We had fallen behind due

Customer Question

We have been in our home for 10 yrs. We had fallen behind due to the economy. My husband wrks construction. For the past 8...yes I said 8, years we have paid what we could, when we could. Recently we have begun to get our head above water and began paying the full rent. We have been asked to move. We don't dispute or disagree with this but since the landlord accepted the rent all this time and let us maintain the residence, are we able to be sued for the back rent. We live in Plainfield Illinois
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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In Illinois there is a ten year statute of limitations on breach of a written contract, 5 years on a verbal one. So if you signed a written lease initially with the landlord, then that would be a written contract and the landlord could sue for breach for up to ten years.
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So the bot***** *****ne is yes, unfortunately the landlord could sue for rent up to ten years old under IL law.
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You could argue that the legal doctrine of "laches" should apply if he sued you, which states that if someone doesn't enforce their rights within a reasonable time, they waive the right to do so. But that kind of bumps up against the statute of limitations doctrine which sets a specific time for someone to take action.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does it matter that the lease,was never resigned? We,were always in constant contact with the landlord and always let her know what was happening and why.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.
That would affect the outcome legally, but not practically here because if the lease expired and was not re-signed, then this would then be considered to have converted to an oral month to month lease contract under the same terms and conditions as the original lease once the first lease expired.
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The statute of limitations on enforcing an oral contract is only 5 years so the landlord could only try to sue for any delinquent rent over the past 5 years. But if the landlord was applying each payment towards any delinquent rent first, then it would likely be less than 5 full years worth of rent that was currently due.
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So legally it cuts the time to pursue this in half, but practically it probably doesn't change the amount that they could pursue you for.
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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...
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thanks
Barrister