In Feb. 2016 I was living in a home I had been renting in Chicago. There was NO lease. One afternoon , 2 men knocked at the door claiming to be tax buyers and told me the house was about to be sold for lack of tax payments. I immediately contacted the woman I had been writing my rent checks to. Now, she isn't the owner of the house, but she is the one who rented the house to me and all money and decisions on the house were made by her. She was given that (landlord title) by her niece, who actually owned the home. So the 2 years I lived there, I didn't communicate with the niece.
So, now the house is being lost to nonpayment of taxes. I'm told I have to move. The house ended up being saved by the woman's relatives. They paid back taxes, but now had to sell the house.
The last 2 months of living there, I stopped paying rent. I needed moving money on such short notice. I moved.
Now 11 mo. later the landlord who once owned the home is taking me to court for non payment of rent for 2 mo. and an unpaid water bill. Never did we have a agreement for me to pay the water bill, although I have, to prevent it from being turned off from nonpayment on her part.
Since you were there for the two months, it seems clear that you should pay the rent. The judge is likely to order you to pay the stated rent.
Whether you owe the water is s gray issue.
I suggest that you offer to settle the case before court..If you pay just the rent, it is likely that the landlord will drop the water issue.
You owe the rent. If you can prove the landlord was responsible for the water bill -- which is going to depend on what is in the written lease (if there was one), or your oral agreement, you might be able to use what you paid as a set-off against the back rent. For single family homes, it is probably more common that the tenant pays the water bill, so you may have an uphill battle on your hands if there was no written lease making the landlord responsible. If the landlord did pay the water bill at some point in your tenancy, you should try to get proof of that to support your position. It would be best to have an attorney go over all of the specific facts with you before proceeding.
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-----If you lived there for two months without paying rent then you owe those two months of rent.
-----If you were responsible for the water bill then you owe the money on the water bill.
-----If the landlord was responsible for the water bill then the money you paid to keep the water on is a credit against the rent you owe.
-----You may have counterclaims under Chicago's Residential Landlord/Tenant Ordinance. You will need a lawyer to help you with those.
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