COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Department of Housing Issues Rules on Tenant Evictions in Chicago

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Evictions Due to Pandemic Issues

The moratorium is scheduled to end on July 31, 2020, it may very well be extended again. Once the moratorium period ends, Illinois landlords can file eviction suits due to the non-payment of rent.

NOTICE TO LANDLORDS:  Chicago residential tenants, who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, can respond to their landlords within five days of receiving an eviction notice under a Chicago Ordinance.  The notice must be in writing, whether in the form of a letter, email or text message. The notice can be as simple as, “I have been unable to pay rent because I have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” For a more formal template, go to: www.chicago.gov/eviction

Ordinarily, tenants have 5 days to respond to a landlord’s notice of intent to file for eviction. However, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot signed the COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance, extending the 5-day period to a total of 12 days.  This extension is only granted to tenants who notify their landlord that they have been impacted by COVID-19.

Tenants can claim a COVID-19 impact if any of the following are true:

  1. Tenant, or another household member, is laid-off from work;
  2. Tenant’s, or household member’s, hours are reduced; or
  3. Tenant must quarantine due to COVID-19, or must take care of someone affected by COVID-19.

By ordinance, the landlord must contact the tenant within the 12-day period to work out a plan that will avoid eviction.  This plan may include mediation or arbitration, allowing the tenant to use their security deposit to cover rent, or even a repayment plan. Should tenant and landlord come up with a repayment plan, the ordinance requires that tenant be given at least two months to re-pay each month of missed rent.

The ordinance does not require that landlord and tenant reach an agreement. Both parties are required to make a good faith effort to do so.  Should the landlord not use good faith effort to work out a plan with their tenant, and file an eviction case, the court will dismiss their case.

For more information about the legal issues arising as a result of the Pandemic, please go to Geo’s Blog:  https://www.businessattorneychicago.com/faqs-for-business-owners-about-the-coronavirus-pandemic/