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MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6135
Experience:  10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
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I am just researching laws for Illinois for my daughter. She

Customer Question

Hello, I am just researching laws for Illinois for my daughter. She paid a deposit and first months rent in Chicago, received the keys, never signed the lease, never moved in, moved back to ohio, and the landlord will not return any of the money.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Illinois
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: no
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you. Can you please explain the circumstances in which she paid rent and received keys without there having been a lease involved?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The landlord wasnt available the day she was suppose to move in, he was going to put the lease in the mailbox for her to sign the next day. but she had to pay the deposit and first months rent to get the key.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

If there was an agreement in please that she was going to move in and the only reason the lease was not signed was due to unavailability, then she would still be responsible for the lease. It would still be considered a contract. Best case scenario would be that it would only be considered a month to month lease which would entitle her to the return of the security deposit. Worst case scenario is that a court would find, depending on the facts, that the lease was in place for X term and so she would be liable for paying rent for the entire X term up until someone else moves in. That is what is known as the landlord's duty to mitigate damages.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He isnt trying to hold her to the lease, he only said he had to keep the deposit since she didnt move in, and would return the first months rent. He said he mailed it already, but it would have been here by now....
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should we be asking for the deposit back or the rent?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

The landlord has no basis upon which to hold the security deposit unless he were holding her to the lease. If he isn't holding her to the lease and she never moved in, then there can be no damage to the unit and so the security deposit is what she needs to request in writing from the landlord and she needs to be sure that he has a current address for her. Also, if he isn't holding her to the lease, then he also would be returning her first month's rent. If she did not sign any papers saying that she was a paying a deposit to hold the unit rather than as an actual security deposit, then the money paid has to be returned to her.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a regulation/law I can reference in my letter to him?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

The Illinois Security Deposit Return Act is the name of the statute that governs the return of the security deposit if there are 5 or more units. For general security deposit law such as detailing what it is to be used for, the statutes all can be found at llinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 765 §§ 710/1 and 715/3.

Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know if this has answered your question. If it has, please be so kind as to leave a positive rating as that is the only way that we experts receive credit for the time spent assisting you since we are not Just Answer employees. Thank you in advance for allowing me to assist you and for your positive rating. If, however, you still need additional clarification, simply reply back and I'd be happy to continue our conversation.