Chicago, IL asked in Real Estate Law, Small Claims, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Illinois

Q: If a lessee hosts a roommate (no lease, roommate agreement only), who has standing to sue the roommate for unpaid rent?

If a tenant who has a lease with the property owner is given full control to choose roommates and determine all terms of the roommate agreements, who can sue the roommate for unpaid rent?

The lease-holding tenant has the right to sue based on terms of the roommate agreement, I would imagine, but can the property owner sue the roommate with whom he has no lease or other contract at all?

1 Lawyer Answer
James Kottaras
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Depending on the terms of your "roommate agreement," which I assume would be similar to a sublease form, you should be able to sue the roommate for unpaid rent owed to you.

The landlord/owner may not be able to sue the roommate for his portion of the unpaid rent, but if you have not met your obligations under the "master" lease (including timely payment of rent), the landlord can sue for possession (i.e. eviction) against you and all other occupants of the property.

The landlord may also seek unpaid rent and any other reimbursements (i.e. court costs, attorney fees, etc) allowed under the lease against any signatory to the master lease.

You should have a knowledgeable eviction/contract attorney thoroughly review your lease and roommate agreement for more specific legal advice.

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