Illinois’ Covid Eviction Moratorium Ends

Illinois Governor Pritzker’s 19 month moratorium on evictions expired this past weekend.  Beginning today, October 4, 2021, evictions can be filed and processed as before the moratorium was put into place.  A nightmare for landlords seems to be at an end.  What will the playing field look like now that the ban on evictions has been lifted?

Changes that will Stay With Us

We are left with some vestiges of the Covid eviction system.

Landlords in Illinois will still need to comply with some additional disclosure requirements when it comes to the summons they serve on eviction defendants.  The Illinois Supreme Court has established an emergency rental assistance program.  Based on an order from the Supreme Court issued in September, all eviction summonses must contain a notice about the program.

Landlords in Cook County must comply with General Administrative Order 2020-09 which establishes the “Early Resolution Program for the Municipal Department” aka “ERP”.  That order requires that an ERP disclosure also be attached to any eviction summons issued in Cook County.

Finally, the Chicago Covid-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance remains in effect “until 60 days after the: later of the expiration of the Governor’s moratorium or the Cook County Circuit Court’s General Administrative Order on evictions.  As such, for the next couple of months, Chicago housing providers will need to provide the notices required by the Eviction protection Ordinance and will have to negotiate with a tenant in good faith if they indicate a Covid-19 Impact.

Will there be a Tsunami of Evictions?

No.  Will some evictions get filed?  Yes.  Does it still take months to evict a tenant?  Yes.  In fact, the ERP system will add a bit of time to the process.  The combination of (1) tenants who will now move because landlords have a remedy and (2) tenants who have availed themselves of emergency rental assistance will lead to a reduction in the number of total cases that can be brought.  Remember, landlord’s don’t WANT to evict tenants.  I always tell my landlords – by the time you’ve filed, you’ve already lost.

There are still rent relief funds available.  Most landlords will look to work with their tenants to avoid an eviction.  But those tenants who have enjoyed a 19 month rent-free situation and who are on the lam or who refuse to participate in the process – yes, cases will be filed against them and they’ll be removed.

We will see a large number of filings in those situations where the moratorium law protected occupants who were not required to pay rent and who did not qualify as “emergency” evictions.  Landlords will finally have recourse to remove occupants who refused to move despite the end of their lease term or despite their tenancy being terminated for reasons other than nonpayment of rent.  You know, in February, a property owner let their nephew crash on a sofa in the basement “for a time”.  With the moratorium, a landlord couldn’t get that tenant out unless the eviction was an emergency.  It’s now time for that nephew to begin packing his stuff.

So no, there won’t be a mass-eviction happening this week.  There won’t be ten thousand cases filed today.  The gears of a system that was frozen and not in a well thought out way will, however, begin to turn again and small landlords might be able to get back on their feet… finally.  It is nice to have recourse again.