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COVID-19 Information for Illinois

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws, and other policy issues.

Reopening Order

Effective Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor JB Pritzker has issued updated “Shelter-in-Place” orders while extending the requirements until Saturday, May 30, 2020. Currently, some non-essential businesses such as retailers are open for curbside pickup and delivery and require people to wear masks in public.

Illinois is set to move into Phase 3 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan this Friday, May 29, 2020. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has released a Phase 3 Business Toolkit

Effective Friday, August 7, 2020, Governor Pritzker announced efforts to protect Illinois communities and frontline workers by filing emergency rules for businesses, schools, and child care establishments regarding the use of face coverings and the size of gatherings. 

On Friday, September 18, 2020, Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order 2020-55 which extends a variety of additional EOs, including requirements for in-person meetings, until Saturday, October 17, 2020.

Face Mask Mandate

Effective Friday, May 1, 2020, Governor Pritzker announced that all individuals must wear a face covering in public places or when working. 

State of Emergency

Governor JB Pritzker declared a state of emergency on March 9, 2020.

Eviction

Status: Eviction Filings & Enforcement Suspended

COVID-19 Executive Order 2020-30

  • Action: Governor Pritzker issued an executive order on March 21, 2020 pausing eviction filings and enforcement of residential evictions by law enforcement through June, 26, 2020. The order has been extended multiple times since its first release and is now set to expire on October 17, 2020. 
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Exceptions: Health and Safety.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Illinois’ new grant program will begin in August to give assistance to those who are behind on rent.

There will be $150 million dedicated to each an emergency rental assistance and emergency mortgage assistance program, which will begin in August. The rental program will be run by the Illinois Housing Development Authority and applies to those who have been unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. The program allows for grants of $5,000 to provide emergency rental assistance. It is expected to be running by August, lasting through the end of the year.

To be eligible, a tenant must carry an unpaid rent balance from March through the present day and be able to certify that COVID-19 related income loss is the reason they cannot afford rent. The governor’s office anticipates the program can help approximately 30,000 renters.

Assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant, and landlords accepting assistance must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the agreement.

A similar emergency mortgage program creates grants of up to $15,000 to homeowners who need support with mortgage payments. That program also is expected to launch in August, and the governor’s office anticipates it will serve approximately 10,000 people.

Eligible homeowners’ must have had an income not exceeding 120 percent of the area median income prior to the pandemic, and must be able to certify that the reason they could not pay their mortgage in full was due to a COVID-19-related loss of income.

Grants from both programs will be allotted on a first-applied, first-approved basis.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Local rent regulation is preempted by Illinois Code § 50 ILCS 825 / 5.

Price-Gouging Law

Under Illinois Code §465.10, statutory law governs price gouging of petroleum and gas products during times of state or national shortage. There is no statutory language governing the restriction or control of rental housing pricing during times of emergency.

Local Legal and Regulatory Information

Chicago

Eviction

COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance

  • Action: Signed by Mayor Lightfoot in June, the city’s COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance creates requirements for eviction notices due to nonpayment of rent through 60 days after the expiration of Executive Order 2020-30 or General Administrative Order of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
  • Description: If a landlord issues a 5-day notice to vacate due to nonpayment of rent, the renter in question may respond with a Tenant Notice of COVID-19 Impact. Upon receipt, the housing provider must wait an additional seven days after the expiration of the five-day period before filing an eviction action. The notice to vacate must state that the resident has this option available. The Department of Housing will post an example of the form on its website.
  • Seven-Day Negotiating Period: During the additional 7-day period, the housing provider must make reasonable attempts to contact and engage in good faith negotiations with the resident to reach a repayment agreement for unpaid rent. “The terms and conditions of any such agreement may include an offer by the landlord to: (1) accept a repayment plan that amortizes each missed rent payment over not less than 60 days; (2) submit the matter to mediation or to binding arbitration; (3) apply the tenant's security deposit and/or interest on the security deposit toward the unpaid rent to reduce the amount of the rent owed; (4) provide the tenant with an opportunity to move out of the dwelling unit, in a reasonable time that takes into account any delays caused by COVID-19 to either party or to the rental market, in exchange for a complete or partial waiver of any unpaid back rent; or (5) enter into a lawful agreement containing other mutually acceptable terms and conditions to otherwise compensate the landlord for the unpaid rent. Any such agreement shall be written in plain language and shall clearly describe its material terms, including, in the case of a repayment plan, the applicable payment amounts, interest rates and payment due dates.” A housing provider may not reject an agreement because repayment depends on outside funds, such as rental assistance.
  • Additional Commentary: Renters may raise an affirmative defense to eviction if all of the following are true: “(1) the tenant did experience a COVID-19 Impact that materially or substantially affected his or her ability to pay rent; (2) the tenant did file with.the landlord a timely Tenant Notice of COVID-19 Impact; and (3) the landlord failed to make reasonable attempts to contact the tenant or to engage in good faith negotiations with the tenant to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement pertaining to the unpaid rent.” Interest and late fees are capped, while security deposits may be applied toward rent if mutually agreed by the housing provider and resident.
  • See the Chicago Department of Housing website for more information.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Housing (DOH) announced the creation of a COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant program to assist Chicagoans who have lost their jobs or otherwise been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Made possible by a partnership with the Family Independence Initiative (FII), DOH will deploy $2 million from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund (AHOF) to fund one-time grants to help impacted Chicagoans with rent and mortgage payments. 

The fund will award 2,000 individual grants in the amount of $1,000. Half of these grants will be awarded through a lottery system, while the other half will be distributed by non-profit community organizations across the city. Chicago residents experiencing temporary financial hardships due to COVID-19 will be able to apply online via the DOH Online Intake Portal at www.chicago.gov/coronavirus and over the phone through community-based organizations.

Applicants will be required to demonstrate their economic impact by showing documentation such as a recent unemployment insurance claim, a notification of employment status change, as well as proof of household income at or below 60 percent of the area median income—ranging from $37,000 for one person to $53,000 for a family of four--prior to job loss or other economic impacts.

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Cook County

Eviction

Sheriff Suspension of Enforcement

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has suspended the execution of all writs of possession and jail visits.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Cook County, Illinois enacted a $20 million rental assistance program that is set to open for applicants in August, using dollars allocated by the CARES Act. The program will provide up to 3 months of rental payments, with a maximum of $4,500 per eligible household. To qualify, renters must show a financial hardship tied to COVID-19 and have an income less than $51,000 before March 27 to qualify. Recipients will be picked through a lottery system, though 25% of the participants will be specifically chosen because they live in areas in the county that were hardest hit by COVID-19 cases. Payments will be made directly to housing providers.  Cook County’s program does differ from others around the country, in which individuals who apply for assistance do not have to be U.S. citizens or residents.

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Normal

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

As a part of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (C.A.R.E.S.) Act, the Town of Normal received a special allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, referred to as CDBG-CV (Coronavirus), to be used for the sole purpose of preventing, preparing for, and responding to the effects of COVID-19 locally. The Town's CDBG-CV allocation is $246,067.​

With an understanding of the current, most urgent community needs related to COVID-19, the Town of Normal has partnered with Mid Central Community Action (MCCA) in the creation of an assistance program for Normal residents who have suffered income or job loss due to the pandemic and are in need of help covering monthly housing costs - specifically rent, mortgage, and utility bill payments.

This program is intended to assist income-qualified residents with up to 2 months of assistance, or $2,000 in total in a single year. The current amount of assistance funding available is $100,000.

The COVID-19-Related Housing Assistance Program is available to any household (individuals or families) residing within the municipal limits of the Town of Normal that has a documented job or income loss occurring as a result of the present pandemic AND that meets certain income qualifications. Assistance payments will only be made directly to a utility and/or housing provider (landlord or mortgage holder) and shall not exceed 2 months of assistance in a single year. Maximum assistance per applicant/household shall not exceed $1,000 per month or $2,000 in total.

Additionally, the maximum amount of assistance funding that may be put toward a Town of Normal Water Department bill may not exceed $100. Persons with unpaid Town utility bills greater than $100 should contact the Water Department to discuss setting up a payment plan at (309) 433-3411 or (309) 454-9710.

Qualifying income limits, which are subject to change at any time by HUD, are based on household size. A household is defined as any and all persons living in the home, regardless of family relation. Income from all persons in the household will be considered in determining eligibility for assistance through this program.​

Persons wishing to apply for assistance through the COVID-19-Related Housing Assistance Program must submit a completed McLean County Emergency Assistance Application, along with all required documents (referenced at the top of the application's first page) meant to verify identity, residency, income, and a COVID-19-related crisis.  Applications are available in English, and Spanish and French upon request to [email protected] or (309) 454-9642.

Applications may be submitted through any of the options listed below:

  • By Email: [email protected].
  • By Mail: Mid Central Community Action, ATTN: CDBG, 1301 W. Washington Street, Bloomington, IL 61701
  • In Person: Town of Normal, Address: 1 Uptown Circle, 2nd Floor, Normal, IL 61761

Please contact Associate Planner Taylor Long at (309) 454-9642 or [email protected].

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