The U.S. Census Bureau says Illinois has 12,910,409 citizens, and all of those people have to find some place to live. As arduous as the apartment hunting process is, your troubles aren’t necessarily over when you sign your lease. If between the time you sign the lease and the day you move in your landlord wants to change your move-in date, Illinois contract law is on your side.
Importance of the Lease
A rental lease is probably the most important piece of paper you have related to your apartment or home rental. It’s a binding contract that details the terms of your agreement, including the rent, each party’s responsibilities and the dates of tenancy. If ever there is a problem that requires mediation from the courts, the terms of your lease help decide the outcome.
Changing Your Lease
Since your lease is a legally binding agreement, both parties must agree to any changes once it's been signed. Any changes made to a contract must be approved by both parties. If your landlord wants to change the dates of your move-in, he can only do so if you agree to accept it. You either sign a new lease with the edited terms or you attach an addendum signed by both parties.
Asking for Consideration
If your landlord tries to change your move-in date after you’ve already signed the lease, explain to him that he has already signed a legal agreement allowing you do so. Find out why he wants to change the date. If the landlord has a valid reason, such as unfinished repairs, ask for some consideration. For example, if he’s delaying it by two days, ask him to pay for you to stay in a hotel or to pay for you stay an extra week at your old place during that time.
If Negotiation Fails
In many cases, you and your landlord can work something out about a delay to avoid going to court. The law is on your side and you have a contract to prove it. If you can’t come to an agreement, you have the right to back out of the lease altogether because the landlord is not providing the tenancy at the agreed-upon time. Do not give him any money and ask for a refund of any money you’ve paid toward the deposit. If you have a problem getting your money back, you’ll have to sue the landlord, using your lease as your evidence.
Michaele Curtis began writing professionally in 2001. As a freelance writer for the Centers for Disease Control, Nationwide Insurance and AT&T Interactive, her work has appeared in "Insurance Today," "Mobiles and PDAs" and "Curve Magazine." Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Louisiana State University.