I'm pregnant and live alone, last night while I was sleeping, I was awaken by someone turning my front door knob and beating against my door attempting to get in, needless to say I was terrified so I waited a few minutes before going to check the door but no one was there, needless to say I could not go back to sleep. I text my landlord this morning to let her know what happened she read the message but never responded. This is the first time this has happened but I fear my neighbors on the second floor. My question to you is can my lease be broken?
2 Answers from Attorneys
This alone does not give you the right to beak a lease. If you are interested in breaking your lease, you should consult a landlord-tenant attorney familiar with Chicago law. If you break your lease improperly, you could be liable for the rent for the remaining term of the lease.
Normally if you were to try to "break your lease" by moving out, even with notice, a single event like this would only be a defense to a later lawsuit by the landlord for unpaid rent under the lease. And in Chicago a single event reported by the tenant alone, without any corroboration, is not generally considered enough.
However, whether or not your apartment is covered by the Chicago Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance (RLTO), a relatively new Illinois State Law (Safe Homes Act) says that IF you are under threat of some kind of harm because of a domestic situation (and some other defined situations) and IF you can prove it, that CAN BE a defense to such a later lawsuit, and the RLTO seems to preserve this defense (RLTO Section 5-12-190).
However, again, it is a DEFENSE ONLY meaning unless your landlord is willing to let you out of your lease (or deal with the situation to your reasonable satisfaction) after notice, you still can be sued and whether the defense will work will be a question of the facts. You should see an attorney with ALL the facts you have, and have him or her help you make an appropriate decision.
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