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Landlords no longer have to wait until a tenant poses a threat to health and safety or to property before filing an eviction action as of August 1, 2021, and the Illinois Supreme Court has updated its ruling, albeit with more red tape.
Illinois has been under a state of emergency for more than 550 days since March, 2020. Since then, Governor Pritzker has issued more than 80 executive orders pursuant to his emergency powers under the Illinois Constitution.
In our last article, we explored the Federal government’s extension to October 3, 2021, which has subsequently been overturned by the US Supreme Court. With Illinois’ own moratorium set to expire on August 21, 2021, the governor, unsurprisingly, swooped in on the afternoon of Friday, August 20, 2021 and extended Illinois’ eviction moratorium to September 18, 2021.
The Governor’s office has said that they would follow suit with the Federal government; so are we now one step closer to eviction Armageddon? The answer is a resounding no, as the Governor’s office announced that Illinois’ own eviction moratorium would be extended to October 3, 2021, even as the US Supreme Court struck down the CDC moratorium. (source: https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2021/08/31/illinois-eviction-moratorium-extended-to-october-3/)
Executive Order 2021-19 states:
Sections 1, 4, 5, 7, and 8 Executive Order 2021-13, as amended by Executive Order 2021-14, are re-issued and extended through September 18, 2021.
Executive Order 2021-13 is further amended and revised as follows:
Section 9. Nothing in this Executive Order shall preclude a person or entity with a legal right to pursue an eviction or possessory action from challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s, lessee’s, sub-lessee’s, or resident’s Declaration in court, as permitted by law and the applicable Court’s rules.
If you didn’t catch that, Section 2 of 2021-13 states:
“A person or entity may not commence or continue a residential eviction action pursuant to or arising under 735 ILCS 5/9-101 et seq. against a Covered Person unless that person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”
This means that landlords no longer have to wait until a tenant poses a threat to health and safety or to property before filing an eviction action as of August 1, 2021, and the Illinois Supreme Court has updated its ruling, albeit with more red tape.
Updates To Eviction Court Filing Procedures
Illinois Supreme Court Order M.R. 30370, was updated on August 30, 2021. M.R. 30370 governs the judicial aspect of the eviction moratorium, and the Supreme Court amended 30370 with a new Section 3.
Although the Supreme Court no longer prohibits Eviction case filings, each case is stayed until September 18, 2021 (likely to be extended to October 3, 2021), unless the Plaintiff proves, in a hearing that:
“(a) A rental assistance program has denied the tenants’ application as a result of: (i) ineligibility; (ii) incompleteness resulting from the tenant’s failure to complete the tenant’s portion of the application; or (iii) exhaustion of available program funding;
(b) That the tenant has not applied for rental assistance and has expressed no intention to apply;
(c) The tenant has applied for rental assistance, but is clearly and demonstrably ineligible for rental assistance from the program; or
(d) The tenant’s declaration making them a “covered person” is materially erroneous, such that the plaintiff/landlord can prove that the tenant does not qualify as a “covered person.”
Courts should generally defer to the rental assistance programs for eligibility determinations and should only make their own determination when the matter is clear and free from doubt.
If a plaintiff/landlord is successful in proving that the stay does not apply in a given case, the matter may proceed to a dispositive hearing or trial at a date different from the one on which the motion was decided (i.e., hearings on the motions provided for under this paragraph should not be combined with a hearing or trial on the merits).
4. Nothing in this order grants any plaintiff/landlord the authority to enforce an eviction order in contravention of any provision of law, including any applicable moratorium.
5. This order expires on September 1, 2021. September 18, 2021, so as to coincide with the expiration of the Governor’s moratorium on the enforcement of eviction judgments against “covered persons.”
How Does The Federal Moratorium Affect Illinois Evictions?
For the first time, the Federal CDC Eviction Moratorium and the Illinois Eviction Moratorium are not in lock-step with each other. The Federal CDC Eviction Moratorium has been struck down – it expired on July 30, 2021, while the Illinois Moratorium Expires on the original expiration date of the Federal CDC Eviction Moratorium – October 3, 2021.
This is despite the governor’s office previously stating that it would follow the CDC and Federal Court, it appears that the governor is willing to act independent of the CDC and Federal Court after all.
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 at (630)-324-6666 for a free consultation.
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