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The Eviction Moratorium Turns 1 Year Old: What Does This Mean For Landlords?

Updated on
March 8, 2021
Article written by
Attorney Kevin C. Cruz

In this article, we explain the Illinois Eviction Moratorium, including:

  • The history of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium
  • What has changed in the latest extension of the moratorium?
  • How to evict someone under the current eviction moratorium

The History of the Illinois Eviction Moratorium

On March 5, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that he would be extending Executive Order 2020-72 (read more in Biden's Extended Eviction Moratorium Explained), under Executive Order 2021-05, to April 3, 2021. The move comes as no surprise, given the surging numbers of COVID-19 cases and rise of new mutations which have and can complicate the rate of disease mitigation efforts throughout the Chicagoland area.

Executive Order 2020-10 was announced on March 20, 2020. In an unprecedented move, Governor Pritzker halted the enforcement of Orders of Possession by using the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3305/7(2), (8), and (10), to order “all state, county, and local law enforcement officers in the State of Illinois to cease enforcement of orders of eviction for residential premises for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.”

Almost one year later, Governor Pritzker has extended the moratorium like clockwork each month. Although the moratorium has since been loosened slightly, by and large, a vast majority of Illinois renters remain nearly immune to any sort of eviction. EO 2021-05 presents more of the same.

What Has Changed In The Latest Extension Of The Eviction Moratorium?

EO 2021-05 further amends Section 7 of EO 2020-72, in that now,  

“A person or entity may not continue a residential eviction action pursuant to or arising under 735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq. against a tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident of a residential property if the tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident submits a Declaration pursuant to Section 1 following commencement of a residential eviction action, unless that person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”

Previously under EO 2020-72, a tenant had to provide a landlord with a Tenant Declaration form signed under penalty of perjury to fall under the protections of the act. Alternatively, a landlord would serve a tenant with a Tenant Declaration Form and give them 5 days to sign and send back. If the tenant did not send a declaration form back, the landlord could proceed with the service of a five day, ten day, or 30 day notice.

The landlord would then have to fill out their own form certifying compliance with EO 2020-72, and file it along with an Eviction Complaint once the notice period terminated, at which point, a judge would determine if the court could issue a subpoena to the tenant, and begin the litigation process.

How To Evict Someone Under The Current Eviction Moratorium

Previously, there were 4 bases a landlord could proceed to court in order to evict a tenant – 1. They were a threat to the health or safety of other tenants, or 2. They presented an immediate and severe risk to property, 3. The tenant violated any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation, and 4. The tenant failed to return a Tenant Declaration form.

Now, however, a tenant can submit a Declaration Form at any time, even after an eviction is filed, and still have the protection from eviction that EO 2020-72 affords, so long as they qualify for the broad protections under the act. The Declaration Form can now be used as a silver bullet to save the tardy tenant when they fail to return the Declaration Form to their landlord, effectively eliminating the 4th basis for evicting a tenant.

As before, a judge will examine the Eviction complaint to determine the applicability of the Moratorium, whether the landlord complied with the requirements of the Moratorium, and whether the Eviction is based on a health and safety concern, a risk to property, or the violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation. Only then, will the doors to the courtroom open.

Evictions are a highly technical aspect of civil real estate litigation. Without a knowledgeable attorney on your side, getting a tenant out of your apartment, or defending yourself against a crazy landlord, can be an exercise in frustration. Call us today for a free consultation.

The Eviction Moratorium Turns 1 Year Old: What Does This Mean For Landlords?
Author

Attorney Kevin C. Cruz

Kevin is an experienced advocate of legal rights specializing in Family Law, Consumer Protection, and Real Estate Transactions, gaining trial and litigation experience in these areas of law.

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