What to do if my former landlord shut off the electricity in my apartment, without notice, to force me out of the apartment?

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What to do if my former landlord shut off the electricity in my apartment, without notice, to force me out of the apartment?

She then placed a “non-payment” of rent on my credit report before the agreed upon move-out date to trap me. After that, I was served with eviction papers. Do I have a defense to remove the negative reportings from my credit report?

Asked on November 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A landlord may NOT turn off a tenant's utilities to force him or her out, even if the tenant owed money--such is an illegal eviction, and the tenant could sue for monetary compensation and/or (depending on the exact situation) to be allowed back into the unit. A landlord may report truthful information to credit reporting agencies, but false information--such as reporting a deliquent debt (e.g. nonpayment of rent) before the debt was actually owed (so, for example, before the rent was late) could be defamation. And, if reported information is false, you can get it off your credit report, though it can be difficult, complicated, and time-consumming to do this--best to let a lawyer help you. Based on what you write, you may have one or more causes of action against your landlord, and may have grounds to remove information from your credit history; you should meet with an attorney to discuss the situation in greater detail.


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