Breaking News: Covid-19 Guidance on Landlord’s Right of Access

Coronavirus affects Illinois lease showings

UPDATE: Phase 3 Guidance is now in place.  The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity just released April 1, 2020 FAQ guidance with respect to essential services.  Real Estate has been defined as an essential service under the Governor’s stay in place order.  The Department issued guidance (this link has been updated after the State moved the file location) to clarify a number of questions the public has had.  One item addressed in the FAQ provides instruction from the State on real estate showings – an important issue for landlords looking to turn over their units.

Although the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance at 5-12-050 provides for access to a landlord to show a property for rent or for sale, this guidance indicates a contrary position.  In response to a question as to whether real estate open houses and showings are allowed, the guidance indicates, among other things, that “showings of occupied rental properties are not permitted“.  Until now, it had been assumed that the governor’s order did not prohibit these activities.  After today, landlords will be careful not to allow showings of occupied rental units.In addition, the guidance indicates that open houses are not permitted.  Landlords are urged to conduct “virtual” showing.  It makes sense for all Illinois landlords to have some photos and video of their units.  In our virtual world, this kind of showing is becoming more common and its popularity will likely be more widespread in the wake of the current health crisis.

These rules will be in force for the duration of the Governor’s stay in place order.  Landlords need to be vigilant in keeping up to date with the day-by-day changes going on that affect their rental business.

About Richard Magnone

Co-founding member of Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC, attorney at law and Illinois licensed lawyer since 1996.
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