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Foreclosure Defense

Evictions Stopped During Stay at Home Order But Tenants Should Still Pay Their Rent

By April 9, 2020August 15th, 2023No Comments

On April 1, 2020, Illinois Governor Pritzker extended the original stay at home order through April 30, 2020. This means everyone in Illinois needs to stay at home for the rest of the month.

The original stay at home order included a provision stopping residential evictions. The Governor specifically said that “all state, county, and local law enforcement officers in the State of Illinois are instructed to cease enforcement of orders of eviction for residential premises for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.

During the order, a residential landlord can try to get an eviction order from the court but has no way to enforce it (at least for now).

During the order, many of the courthouses in Illinois have stopped hearing eviction petitions. This leaves landlords without the ability to even start an eviction proceeding.

Theoretically, the courthouses could change their policy and start hearing eviction cases during the stay at home order. But, given the potential negative political fallout from this type of action, I doubt it will happen too soon.

This means that many landlords will not be able to start eviction proceedings until after the stay at home order is lifted (or expires).

The good news for landlords with mortgages is that they might be able to apply for a forbearance program. These programs can allow a landlord to skip or make reduced mortgage payments. 

The availability of these programs depends on the type of loan and the policy of the bank or company collecting the payments. 

Over the years, I have seen a lot of problems with forbearance programs. Many times the credit reporting gets screwed up and the application of payments, interest, fees and costs can be a complete mess. I have had clients come after a forbearance program with an unintelligible pile of conflicting notices and letters leaving them hopelessly confused as to how much they actually owe their lender.

If a landlord applies for a forbearance program, it is very important to get written confirmation of exactly what the agreement is.  That way, if the accounting or credit reporting gets screwed up, they have a clear record of what the agreement was. The person the landlord is dealing with at the bank at the time of the agreement, may not be the same person they are dealing with 3, 6 or 9 months later. 

Landlords may also be able to find some relief from SBA Coronavirus Relief Options. The guidelines for these Federal programs are changing by the minute, so it does not hurt to explore them and see what is available.

There is some good news for landlords.

The executive order does not alleviate tenants of their obligation to actually pay their rent.  

The order states that: 

“[n]o provision contained in this Executive Order shall be construed as relieving any individual of the obligation to pay rent, to make mortgage payments, or to comply with any other obligation that an individual may have under tenancy or mortgage.” 

I interpret this provision of saying that the original lease obligation between the landlord and the tenant is not changed by the order. If the tenant does not pay their rent, the landlord can still pursue their legal remedies under the lease. In many leases, this includes the ability to collect all the unpaid rent, late fees, costs and damages.

So, during the stay at home order, landlords will have a hard time starting or enforcing evictions but tenants still owe them their rent.

At the end of the day, we all need to work together in these challenging times. If tenants can’t pay their rent, it is best if they talk to their landlord and try to come to some sort of mutual agreement and understanding.

Here at Adam Diamond Law, we know that nobody ever wants to be in the situation where they are unable to pay their mortgage.  That’s why we will talk to you (in person or over the phone) to help you understand all of your options and help you formulate your plan to navigate these troubled times.


DISCLAIMER: This email and any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, I always urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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