State moratorium on evictions extended through January 9, with modifications

By Samuel Carlson, Manager of Research and Outreach 

Gov. Pritzker is extending a revised eviction moratorium into the New Year.  

Since March 2020, Illinois has had a moratorium (or freeze) on most eviction case filings across the state. The revised moratorium still allows Illinois landlords to evict their tenants, but it provides clarity on who is protected. The new moratorium applies until at least January 9, 2021.  

To be protected by the new Illinois moratorium, you must sign and deliver a declaration to your landlord saying that you:  

  • Fell behind on rent because of COVID-19,  
  • Expect to make less than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 for couples),  
  • Used best efforts to make partial payments toward rent, and   
  • Would become homeless (including doubling-up) if you are evicted.  

What are the changes? 

Unless the tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property, Illinois landlords cannot start the eviction action against a tenant who does not owe rent.  

The new moratorium requires landlords to provide the declaration form to the tenant at least 5 days prior to issuing an eviction notice. The new declaration form now includes a cover sheet explaining the moratorium protection in plain language.  

More details on moratorium protections can be found here. 

Is rent still due? 

Yes, unpaid rent is still due. An eviction moratorium does not relieve the obligation to pay rent, nor reduce the amount owed to a landlord. Although past-due rent is still required, tenants can prevent an eviction with full payment of past-due rent (known as a “cure”) or another formal agreement with their landlord. 

What happens after the eviction moratorium ends? 

Illinois has developed a massive backlog of evictions since March. The state has distributed more than $260 million in rental and mortgage assistance since the start of the pandemic and hopes to disburse another $40 million by the end of the year.  

A recent study links lifting eviction moratoria with increased COVID-19 incidence and mortality, which supports the public health rationale for halting evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

Without robust eviction protections, additional rent relief, and widespread vaccination, both Chicago and the state of Illinois will see a massive influx in people contracting COVID-19 and experiencing homelessness.