2021 continues to look bleak for landlords
In a media statement released yesterday by CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium will again be extended – this time until “at least” March 31, 2021. Housing providers in Illinois should be concerned that this will be another application of “death by a thousand cuts” and the CDC will be back for an extension before all is said and done. Early indications from President Joe Biden have pointed to a federal ban on evictions until September 30, 2021.
This isn’t the first time this technique of incremental moratorium extension has been employed. Governor JB Pritzker has, like clockwork, extended his executive order imposing an eviction moratorium (most recently extended to February 6, 2021) every 30 days since the pandemic began. There’s always an excuse like “the Sheriff asked for more time” or “relief money is on the way”, but the result remains the same. And, as readers here know, Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) made an attempt during the recent “lame duck” legislative session a few days back to impose an eviction ban until October, 2021 by legislation that was defeated in the Illinois Senate. While that measure was defeated, Rep. Ramirez has vowed that she will be back with it in the new legislative session. It sure looks like there is a concerted effort to extend the freeze on evictions until the fall of 2021.
Sadly, with the promise of a vaccine and the wane of the second surge in Illinois, housing providers here are in for a rough ride in 2021. Of particular note are the various criminal and other penalties (fines up to $500,000 and one year in federal prison) associated with a violation of the CDC order while it remains in effect. Landlords served with a CDC declaration need to be wary not to engage in any action defined under the act as an “eviction” (which might go so far as to include the service of an eviction notice). Be careful out there landlords.