I have just signed a lease and sent in my first month's rent for an apartment in Chicago, along with three other roommates and our respective cosigners. Today, after having sent in the check and having been approved 100% for the apartment (and we have been told "it is ours" and it is "off the market"), we were informed that the former tenants would like to stay. I was under the impression that they have already told the landlord that they were going to leave by August 1st and that the apartment is OURS. Is this legal? What can I do about this?
Answered on: 7/03/13, 11:19 am by Stephen Messutta
Have an attorney review the lease. While most leases obligate the landlord to "deliver" possession, the landlord's failure to do so (a default or breach) may only result in a couple of options: no rent until you are given possession, or terminate. You're lucky the landlord let you know a month in advance. If you must move to Chicago 8/1 (I see you are writing from a 21218 zip code) you may need to terminate and secure other housing. If you are in Chicago and can wait, you run the risk that the current tenant may want to stay an entire year, and if the landlord has no other unit available, your option again would be to terminate and look elsewhere. The reason I say you should have an attorney review the lease, is that if you wind up having to lease elsewhere at higher rent, you may NOT be able to sue this landlord for the difference (we call it the "cost of cover") if you simply terminate, get your money back and move on. The attorney can also see whether the lease gives you the right to "specific performance" ( ie a lawsuit to force delivery of possession) but that is only a lawsuit and not a place to live......
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