In condominiums where the owner has outstanding association fees, Illinois law permits them to get a judgment for the amount due and an order of possession so they can rent out the unit to recover what is owed to them. They are not allowed to profit after that point, but can continue to collect the customary monthly fees from the renter for the upkeep of the building.
That's actually a very reasonable request. Illinois law requires landlords to mitigate their damages when a tenant terminates early. 1-2 months is a pretty standard settlement I see in these situations. If you agree to pay the 2 months as settlement, get a written release from future liability. A landlord tenant attorney can help you with a settlement agreement if you're unsure how to proceed.
Since your lease has expired but you've continued to pay rent and the landlord has accepted it, you are now legally a month to month tenant. As a month to month tenant, you may terminate your tenancy with 30 days written notice for any reason. Give written notice today (August 1) and pay rent, then you will be free to move at the end of the month.
None of that is actually true.
The proper procedure is a 5-day notice to pay back rent. Once the 5 days pass the landlord can file an eviction suit against you if you still haven't brought your rent up to date. If he has a case already filed it can be dismissed because it was filed too soon.
If you can afford the apartment and want to stay, it's worth your time and money to consult with a landlord tenant attorney to review your options. If you can't afford the apartment, it's time to...
Rental of condominium units is usually governed by the association rules and bylaws. Check yours to see what the regulations are. If you think you may have the right to rent it within the rules, contact an attorney to review your situation and see if any action is available to you.
Use of something like a sprinkler system would also likely be regulated by those same rules and bylaws. If the association has violated them, you may have a cause of action against them.
In any event, you...
There's nothing in the law that says you have a right to break your lease without penalty. However, in Illinois a landlord has a duty to mitigate his damages if a tenant terminates early. This means they have to make a good faith effort to find another qualified tenant. They can only charge you for the months they're looking. If you're in Chicago, and your building is covered by the CRLTO, lump sum penalties for things like early lease breaking are generally illegal.
Your best option at...
The 5-day notice means you have 5 days to catch up on the rent owed or move. If you do neither, the landlord then has the right to file an eviction suit against you. If you think the notice was improper, you should check with an attorney to discuss that issue as well as explore other defenses. But, none of that will be very helpful if you can't bring your rent up to date while the eviction suit is pending.
How long you can stay in the home depends on the court's docket and any defenses you may have. 2-3 years seems a little long but not completely unreasonable. Ask the lawyer quoting you this time frame to explain the specifics of their time estimate to you in more detail. Also, it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion if you can get a free consultation. Just let the 2nd lawyer know they are 2nd in line as a courtesy.
Also, here is a blog post I wrote on making decisions when served with...