COVID-19 | Rules for Landlords
In this guide, you'll learn the requirements to evict a Tenant during COVID restrictions.
*** Note, the Illinois eviction moratorium expired October 3, 2021. The guide below may no longer apply. ***
Per Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-72, as amended by Executive Order 2020-74, Executive Order 2021-01, Executive Order 2021-04, Executive Order 2021-05 and 2021-06, landlords are prohibited from initiating eviction actions against covered persons unless they pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property. A “covered person” is defined as a tenant who provides their landlord with a certification under penalty of perjury stating that:
- They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or $198,000 if filing jointly);
- They are unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a COVID-19 related hardship including, but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- They are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses; and
- Eviction would likely render them homeless—or force them to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because they have no other available housing options.
In addition to largely prohibiting the filing of eviction actions against covered persons, the Executive Order also prohibits the enforcement of eviction orders against all individuals unless they have been found to pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property. The Executive Order does not relieve any individual of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation that they may have pursuant to a lease or rental agreement. This moratorium is in effect until May 1, 2021 (subject to further extension or amendment by the Governor). From the Illinois Housing Development Authority - https://www.ihda.org/about-ihda/covid-19-housing-resources-information/#collapseILEvictionMoratorium.
What is a direct threat?
If a Tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property, then a Landlord may proceed with an eviction action even if the Tenant is otherwise a covered person under the moratorium. Unfortunately, the Executive Orders do not clearly state what constitutes a threat (largely forcing the Landlord to roll the dice). A Court would consider the specifics facts of each case to make this determination. If an Eviction Order is entered and the Court finds that the Tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property, then law enforcement officers can enforce eviction orders.
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Steps to evict during COVID-19
If you were required to change the locks - or failed to give the Tenant a right to change the locks - and a theft occurs at the unit, you may be liable for damages caused to the Tenant.
Who pays to change the locks? You can charge a fee for the expense of changing the locks. If you do, make sure the amount does not exceed the reasonable price customarily charged for changing locks.
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This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion on any specific case and/or circumstance. This article does not create an attorney/client relationship. No guarantee for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should be based solely on advertisements.