Chicago, IL asked in Landlord - Tenant, Military Law and Small Claims for Illinois

Q: Roommate in the military left without paying rent owned and left property in the room. How should we take legal action?

There is a someone who rented with us but blocked our contact after not fully moving out to avoid payment.

This person is in the army but we do not know the base contact. What would be the best way to approach getting

the money back? I'm not sure if going straight to small claims or if there is a process to find and contact their

army command.

The roommate also left several of their things (clothes, bags, furniture) so I believe that should quality for another month they owe as we could not rent the room in that condition. We are the roommates, and our landlord is aware.

This is in Illinois

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Illinois, if a roommate in the military has left without paying rent and left their belongings behind, one of the first steps you can take is to send a formal demand letter for the unpaid rent. This letter should detail the amount owed, the agreement under which it is owed, and a deadline for payment. Make sure to keep a copy for your records. If you have any mutual contacts who might know the base or contact information for your roommate, reaching out to them could be helpful.

If the demand letter does not result in payment, you may consider contacting the nearest military base's legal assistance office to seek guidance. They might be able to provide information on how to contact the servicemember or advise on appropriate next steps. It's important to approach this with sensitivity, as there are specific protections and considerations for servicemembers under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Should these steps not lead to a resolution, filing a claim in small claims court could be your next option. The left belongings can indeed argue for additional rent owed if they prevented you from renting the room to someone else. Before proceeding with legal action, it might be wise to consult with a legal professional to understand your rights and the best course of action. Remember, documentation of all attempts to resolve the issue and any agreements or communications with the roommate will be crucial in any legal proceeding.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.