Can I owe more than what was outlined in the eviction letter?

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Can I owe more than what was outlined in the eviction letter?

I rented a house from a friend for over 3 years. There was no written lease and no security deposit. About 6 months ago he gave my husband and I a letter stating that she was taking the house back in slightly over 2 weeks. Further, the letter said that we would only be charged per diem for the rent until we had to leave. Since moving out she has sent repeated texts and emails stating that she didn’t feel we took good enough care of the house and wants $1000 on top of the rent we already paid to cover repairs. Considering there was no written lease, deposit, or 30 notice, do we have to pay the $1000?

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If a tenant, including a tenant under an oral (not written lease) damages a landlord's property, he or she is liable for the cost to repair it. This liability has nothing to do whether any rent was owed, the length of notice to move out, etc., and is predicated simply on the damage. Note, however, that tenants are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear, or the typical end-of-tenancy cleaning; they are only responsible for actual damage, like scratched wooden floors, damaged window treatments, appliances, or fixtures, carpets with more-than-normal stains (e.g. pet urine, red wine, grease), damaged doors or holes or nicks in walls, etc. If you dispute the amount she is charging, you can either try to work it out with her or refuse to pay; if you refuse to pay, she would have the option of suing you. To recover money, she'd need to prove her case--that you did damage beyond normal wear and tear, and it costs $1,000 to repair--in court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (i.e. that it's "more likely than not") that you did this.


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