Over one month before the expiry of our written lease agreement in Cook County Illinois on May 31ST 2007, the landlord and I agreed orally by phone that my family would continue our tenancy month-to-month beginning June 1ST 2007. (The property had been for sale and regularly shown since Feb.).
I informed him at that time that we were leaving the country during the summer and were awaiting a visa. At the time of that initial conversation we agreed that I would mail him a check for rent due June 1ST, thereby leaving July 1ST open. Two weeks later, in mid-June, at our second conversation I said that we would be leaving July 20TH 2007, but he asked for cheques post-dated for July1ST and August 1ST, in case something went wrong with our visa application, and I sent those.
Around July 1ST, during our third conversation by phone I said that we were indeed leaving on July 20TH as planned. He was concerned about transfering the utilities accounts as we would be gone for August, but I said I would pay the utilities until August 31ST as a courtesy to him -- his new tenants would occupy Sept 1ST, 2007.
On July 20Th the landlord examined the premises, found them acceptable, returned our damage deposit less a $200 extraordinary cleaning fee, and I returned to him the keys and left the country.
Never assuming he would attempt to cash the August 1ST check , I stopped payment. Now he has threatened to take me to small claims court for unpaid August rent and legal fees.
Who is right?
Does he have proof of money damages?