Hi PACE Consumers and Community Members,
First, I would like to celebrate our resilience as a community throughout the eight months since COVID-19. In a myriad of ways, we have all felt the physical, emotional, and social pressures of this challenging season. Yet, we are succeeding. I am thankful for how these difficulties have brought us together.
The above celebration is not a dismissal of the very real stressors many face locally and across the nation. One of these stressors is the ability for tenants to pay rent and maintain stable housing. With high rates of unemployment and an ever-changing job market, housing instability is a natural consequence. To address this problem and prevent homelessness, there have been statewide and national responses.
At the state level, Gov. Pritzker changed the eviction moratorium on November 14. It now extends through December 14. However, landlords can pursue evictions in court unless tenants provide a written statement, under penalty of perjury, that they should be protected under the moratorium. The inability to pay rent must be related to COVID-19. For a copy of the written statement, see this link from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
This moratorium prohibits evictions for nonpayment of rent, specifically. It does not bar evictions for matters beyond rent payment, such as tenant violence or negligence of the property. It is also important to know that the state eviction moratorium does not provide rent forgiveness, meaning that tenants are still obligated to make rent payments according to lease terms throughout the duration of the moratorium.
At the national level, the Centers For Disease Control [CDC] has also established an eviction moratorium across the nation effective through December 31, 2020. Similar to the state action, the CDC’s regulation does not include rent forgiveness and only protects against evictions related to nonpayment of rent. Tenants are still responsible for rent under all lease terms. Also, the CDC moratorium is not automatic. Tenants must provide a written statement to their landlords in order to be covered.
The following is a summary of the moratorium from the National Housing Law Project:
- It is in effect as of September 4th and lasts through December 31st;
- It applies to all tenants who present a signed declaration to their landlords;
- The declaration requires the tenant to state that:
- (i) their income is less than $99,000, they did not have to pay income tax in 2019, or they received a stimulus check;
- (ii) they are unable to pay rent due to income loss or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- (iii) they would become homeless or need to double-up if evicted;
- (iv) they will still make partial payments (“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”);
- It applies wherever there is not a more protective state moratorium in effect, i.e. it acts as a floor;
- It applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent;
- There are criminal penalties for violations.
I hope this information is helpful as we navigate the next months ahead. If you have questions about the moratoriums and or need assistance with housing needs, please reach out to PACE staff at 217-344-5433 and firstname.lastname@example.org.