COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Landlords Beware: Eviction Rules Update

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COVID Rules for Residential Evictions

UPDATED JANUARY 17, 2021 FOR COOK COUNTY

The Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County issued another Administrative Order affecting the status of all cases, including eviction cases.

An Early Resolution Program is available for all eviction and consumer debt cases filed after March 20, 2020.  Services available under the ERP will include brief legal services (legal screenings, legal information and advice, settlement negotiation, referrals for extended representation, drafting assistance), conflict resolution (mediation and negotiation assistance), and/or financial assistance (applying for emergency rental funds, mortgage relief, financial counseling, or other financial assistance). The services that are directly needed by a case will depend on the facts and circumstances in each specific case. Services are available for landlords, tenants, and debtors by calling 1-855-956-5763 or visiting cookcountylegalaid.org.

UPDATED DECEMBER 22, 2020:

The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically altered the rules for Residential Evictions affecting both landlords and tenants.  The recent Stay-At-Home recommendations and the slowdown in the economy have created pressures on both landlord and tenants.

Commercial Evictions are not subject to these new rules.

The Federal Government and the State of Illinois have enacted rules tthat strictly govern residential evictions and landlords must be aware of the rules to protect their interests.   

On December 22 the Illinois Supreme Court stepped into the discussion and issued an Order which will affect the procedures for the filing of a residential eviction.  See: Illinois Courts Response to COVID-19 Emergency Residential Eviction Proceedings, Order # M.R. 30370.   This Order describes a process for every eviction action and requires a certification form that all landlords (residential and commercial) must submit with any eviction complaint filed until the moratorium ends.  Before the case is accepted a judge must review the filings and if the filings do not satisfy the requirements of the Order, the case will be dismissed, the court file will be sealed, and any future refiling fee will be waived.  This is intended to avoid erroneous filings and allows landlords to correct any errors by permitting them to refile without incurring additional court costs.   The Order and the Certification Form are available online here.

The Illinois Eviction Moratorium was first enacted in March and most recently extended on November 13 by Executive Order 2020-72 extends the residential eviction prohibition, including the Federal Order requirements regarding “covered persons” and adding an additional requirement of mandating that the Economic Hardship Declaration form be given by Illinois landlords to all tenants PRIOR to serving any notice terminating tenancy.  This broadens the scope of the order from mere demands for unpaid rent to any notices “terminating tenancy.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a formal Agency Order on September 4 halting evictions thru the end of the year.   See: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/04/2020-19654/temporary-halt-in-residential-evictions-to-prevent-the-further-spread-of-covid-19   For FAQs about the federal order see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/eviction-moratoria-order-faqs.pdf   The CDC Order includes the requirement of a Declaration signed by the Tenant to avoid eviction.

Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-72 protects tenants who have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19 and will not earn more than $99,000 in 2020 ($198,000 for a married couple).  To get protected, tenants must submit a Declaration to their landlord stating that they have experienced an economic hardship. 

The Declaration is available at:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf  

NOTE TO LANDLORDS: the Landlord must give the form of the Declaration to the Tenant prior to the service of the Five-Day Notice.

For additional FAQs about the Rental Relief Program go to: https://df7qosnywqs6g.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/FAQ-Eviction-EO-11.13.20-FINAL.pdf