Chicago, IL asked in Real Estate Law for Illinois

Q: renting from mother, no lease. can she kick us out and/or can we sue her

we're talking slumlord level. she won't fix up the place and we're not allowed to fix it with our own money. the electricity is not up to code, no central air, broken tiles in the bathroom, rotted wood underneath floor in one area, windows with no insulation. our fault in this situation is that we frequently are late with rent. we never not pay, but we are late quite a bit. she is a hoarder so her stuff is still in the house, though we cleaned it slowly over the years. when we first moved in we slept on a mattress in the living room floor because that was the spot we were able to clean. she threatens to kick us out on the regular. would love to move out forever ago if not for not being able to afford our own place. where do we stand if she actually gets to the point where she decides to kick us out or if we are done with her and want to sue for the condition of the house and how we are overpaying her to live in squalor.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Robert Shipley
Robert Shipley
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Fundamentally, if you do not have a written lease, you can provide 30 days notice and then vacate. The landlord has the responsibility to provide a habitable apartment and of course you have the obligation to timely pay the rent. Perhaps the landlord's attitude is that they are being reasonable by accepting the continually late payments. But that should not excuse the landlord's responsibility which is to make the apartment habitable. You mention not being able to afford the rent, but I am presuming that if you look for other apartments you will be available to find one in your price range. If the apartment is as bad as you describe, then your best option is probably to move.

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