What can I do if my tenant moved out without paying bills that were in my name?

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What can I do if my tenant moved out without paying bills that were in my name?

My tenant left without paying bills for 3 months, totaling almost $750, not including rent. How do I get this money? We had no written agreement for him living there. He was a family friend and he also stole my TV when he left. I have tried being nice and gave him a 2 week period to get my money to me.

Asked on May 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Even without a written lease, an oral or verbal lease (an agreement he'd pay $X for living there, and/or pay certain bills) is enforceable. If you had an agreement that he should pay bills and/or pay rent, you can sue him to recover that money. (Obviously, it can be more difficult to prove the terms of an oral agreement than a written one, if the two parties disagree as to the terms.) You'd have to sue to get the money; there is no other way to collect it.

2) You may also sue for the TV--for it's return or the value of it--at the same time you're suing for  the other money. You may also wish to consider reporting your "friend" to the police--theft is a crime.


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