Residential Eviction Moratoriums Ending
On Inauguration Day, Wednesday January 20, 2021, President Biden requested that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) extend the Federal moratorium on evictions through March 31, 2021. He made this request in order to avoid a massive wave of evictions that might overwhelm homeless shelters and lead to a possible spread of Covid-19 among the public. The Federal Moratorium was extended monthly, with the last extension setting the end of the Federal Moratorium on July 31, 2021. Pleas have been made from many members of Congress and certain housing advocates asking for a further extension of the Federal Moratorium due to the increase in Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta Variant. However, on July 29, 2021, President Biden announced that there will be no further extensions of the Federal Moratorium. President Biden urged Congress to pass immediate legislation to create a new eviction moratorium. In making his announcement, President Biden said there was nothing more he could do as a Supreme Court ruling from June states that the Supreme Court would not invalidate the existing Federal Moratorium, despite the majority of the Court believing it to be illegal, because the President had indicated his intention to let it expire on July 31, 2021. Some members of the Court also indicated that they would not support any further extensions of the Federal Moratorium absent an act of Congress. So unless Congress acts to extend, or otherwise create a new one, the Federal Moratorium on evictions will end on Saturday, July 31, 2021.
However, Congress has previously passed a number of financial Stimulus Bills which include significant financial aid to provide relief to landlords and tenants. The majority of the money from these stimulus packages are being administered through separate programs in each State.
On July 14, 2021, Governor Pritzker announced that on July 23, 2021 he would issue an Executive Order that allows eviction filings against “Covered Persons” to begin on August 1, 2021. Previously the Moratorium had prohibited the commencement of any new eviction cases against Covered Persons. The criteria defining a Covered Person, are:
1) (a) the individual expects to earn no more than $99,000 during the calendar year for 2020 (no more than $198,000 if filing jointly);
- b) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS;
- c) received an Economic Impact Payment pursuant to Section 2001 of the Cares Act; and
2) is unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a Covid-19 hardship, which includes but is not limited to: substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or other wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses related to the pandemic; and
3) the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the regular full rent or mortgage payment as circumstances provide, taking into account non-discretionary expenses; and
4) eviction would likely render the individual homeless.
As a result of the Governor’s July 23, 2021 Order, evictions can now be commenced against Covered Persons. Enforcement of all prior, and new, eviction orders is still delayed until August 31, 2021. Meaning the first evictions following the expiration of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium will not begin until at least September 1, 2021.
However, the State does have significant funds available to both landlords and tenants, including “Covered Persons”, to pay unpaid rent that has accrued during the ongoing Covice-19 pandemic. The Illinois programs require tenants and landlords to apply together and can provide funds for up to fifteen (15) months of back rent. On July 18, 2021, the State opened its most recent program in which it expects to use $500 million new dollars to help over 63,000 households facing eviction. This money is part of an overall $2 billion dollars in rental assistance the State has available to landlords and tenants in the Illinois Rental Payment Program. The Illinois Rental Payment Program received its funds from the various Federal Covid-19 Stimulus Plans passed by Congress.
Additionally, in an effort to try and soften the impact of the expiration of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium, both the State, and many of the individual Counties, are developing mediation and other court diversion programs. The goal of these programs, together with the available funds through the Illinois Rental Payment Program, is to try and prevent a mass eviction event. These programs are still being developed and implemented. It is expected that more information on these possible court diversion programs will be announced as the State assesses the impact caused by the upcoming expiration of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium.
Although the State’s Moratorium is expiring, the increase in Covid-19 cases might cause the Governor and State to reconsider its approach to the Eviction Moratorium. Accordingly, both landlords and tenants should regularly look for updates, and otherwise keep abreast, on the status of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium, the availability of rental assistant funds through Federal, State and Municipal Programs, and the development of the anticipated mediation and other diversion programs that are expected to be created by the State’s counties and court systems.
The attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. are constantly watching this topic and are available to discuss questions and concerns from both the landlord and tenant’s perspective. We will continue to provide updates as further information becomes available.
Please contact the experienced attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. at 815-455-3000 to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss how the expiration of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium impacts you and your household.
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