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I have a tenant, who after offering us $50 more than the…

Customer Question
I have a tenant...

I have a tenant, who after offering us $50 more than the listed rent to rent our condo, now wants to break the lease, after just barely 4 months. He is trying to use our lease termination negotiations as something he relied on to receive his full deposit back. But we, rather than have them find and be responsible for a sublet, paid a realtor rental fee (1 month's rent) to find a re-renter. State of Illinois, Chicago

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

Chicago, Illinois

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No, we have not reached a mutual termination agreement yet, he is disputing what has been discussed.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I have an email chain that very clearly state's his reason why he won't sign the termination agreement and our response back to him (with original negotiations in part attached).

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
9/25/2017
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 10 months ago
barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 43,027
Experience: Attorney over 17 years, landlord 26 years
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by JustAnswer. If you have requested a phone call with an attorney, your request will post to other experts that do offer this service. When another attorney accepts your request you will get additional instructions.

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Has the tenant actually vacated and breached the lease agreement?

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Did they return the keys when they moved out and stop paying rent?

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And do you have a new tenant in the property now?

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Did he have any valid reason to break the lease?

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Has the tenant actually vacated and breached the lease agreement?
He is supposed to vacate September 30, as per our negotiations, and has asked to break the lease.Did they return the keys when they moved out and stop paying rent?
He has not moved out yet, and is not planning on paying rent for October..And do you have a new tenant in the property now?
We have a lease with a new tenant, who is ready to movie in October 1.Did he have any valid reason to break the lease?
His claim is only that the ambient apartment/neighbor noise is not conducive to the studying of his girlfriend/co-renter who is a med student. Again, they offered us $50 extra to have the apartment and told us they loved it. So I was very shocked and have been trying to reasonably accommodate and mitigage the costs.
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Ok, this is the problem that you are going to run into... If you have already entered into a new lease with a new tenant to start Oct 1, then you won't have any damages in the form of lost rent to charge the tenant for. If they didn't agree to pay any tenant location fee, and there is nothing in the lease about them being liable for this, then you may have a hard time charging them that fee.

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When a tenant breaches the lease, you can hold them liable for all costs associated with that breach.... but here the tenant isn't actually in breach yet because they paid for Sept and are still in legal possession of the property. If they moved out at the end of Sept, and you didn't have a new tenant, and they didn't pay the rent for Oct, then they are in breach and you can ding them for any lost rent until you found a new tenant.

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So in acting quickly to find a new tenant, you may have actually hurt yourself because you cured the problem before the tenant actually breached..

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With that said, under the law there is a thing called "anticipatory breach" where one party says they are breaching and the other party relies on that in acting. So here, you relied on them saying they were moving, and acted accordingly, and I would opine that if this gets in front of a judge, he would allow you to charge the tenant the realtor fee.

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So when they vacate, just list that fee as part of your damages against the deposit and send them an itemized letter along with any other charges like cleaning. Then the ball is in their court if they want to dispute it in court.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
What's frustrating is that I would meet them half way just to be gone with them and get a signed termination agreement. But they are digging in last minute, vs. negotiating with us early on. We own the condo in Chicago, Illinois, but we live in Brooklyn, NY. So I don't know why he wants to even entertain going to small claims court to wait for the return of money and roll the dice (I understand Chicago laws are tenant favoring but we really have been trying to help them).
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
If I wanted to formerly retain you, how would I do that, should we not be able to amicably resolve this? Are you able to send to me your contact information?
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 10 months ago

He may be playing "chicken" and think that he has you over a barrel here.. But most tenants won't bother suing if they know that they are in the wrong..

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Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need local counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

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www.martindale.com

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www.lawyers.com

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They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Hello again,

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I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

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Did you have any further questions I can help with?

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Thanks much

Barrister

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
We are standing behind our lease. Below is what's stated in our lease. The rental agent fee is that cost to advertise, promote and bring a new tenant to the apartment. He still won't budge - won't accept any offers from us to share some of that cost in addition to us wanting to return that and the balance of security, and won't sign termination agreement."31. Acceptance of Rent after Tenant Breach. Except where a breach is for non-
payment of rent, Landlord may accept rent after a Tenant breach and the rent will be
retained for use and occupancy of the Premises and shall not serve to extinguish
Landlord's rights or remedies relative to any lawsuit that may be filed or in progress at the time of the Tenant breach.""SUBLEASES {MUN. CODE CH. 5-12-120}
• The landlord must accept a reasonable subtenant offered by the tenant without charging additional fees.
• If a tenant moves prior to the end of the rental agreement, the landlord must make a good faith effort to find a new tenant at a fair rent.
• If the landlord is unsuccessful in re-renting the unit, the tenant remains liable for the rent under the rental agreement, as well as the landlord’s cost
of advertising."
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Well, at this point you are just in a waiting game to see what they do.. When they vacate and return the keys, you deduct the fee from the security deposit and see if they actually try to file suit or not.

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If they do, you defend based on them not providing a suitable sublessee and the idea of "anticipatory breach" I went over above...

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It was my pleasure to work with you and help with your question. If you ever need me in the future, you can post a new question with "For Barrister" in the caption and the JustAnswer employees will get it to me.

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If you feel I have answered all your questions, I would very much appreciate a 5 star rating by clicking on the rating scale on your screen as that is the only way I receive credit for my work.

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Thanks much

Barrister

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
Lawyer: barristerinky, Attorney replied 10 months ago

Hello again,

.

I just wanted to touch base with you and check in.

.

Did you have any further questions I can help with?

.

.

Thanks much

Barrister

Ask Your Own Landlord-Tenant Question
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