Know Your Rights: COVID 19 Eviction Protection Ordinance
Updated Sept. 14, 2021
In June 2020, City Council approved the COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance, providing additional eviction protections to tenants who inform their landlords in writing of their inability to pay their rent due to a “COVID-19 Impact.” An amendment to the ordinance was passed by City Council in July 2021.
The ordinance goes into effect for the 60 days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Executive Order limiting evictions for those impacted by COVID-19 expires. On Aug. 20, 2021, the governor's executive order was extended and is scheduled to expire on Oct. 3, 2021.
A COVID-19 Impact can be claimed when a tenant or another household member:
- Is laid-off from work
- Has their hours at work reduced
- Has to isolate or quarantine because of COVID-19 diagnosis or possible exposure
- Has to care for someone else affected by COVID-19
What Landlords Need to Know and Do
- Landlords who issue five-day notices of eviction for nonpayment must include a notice informing tenant of their rights under the COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance.
- Required Landlord Notice to Tenant (.pdf)
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Landlords who receive a Tenant Notice of COVID-19 Impact and have not applied for emergency rental assistance funds from either the city or state must register with the Department of Housing (DOH) no later than the fifth day after issuing a five-day notice of termination of tenancy.
3. Landlords that do not come to an agreement with a tenant after the negotiation period ends and file an action with the Circuit Court to evict the tenant for nonpayment, must file an affidavit with the action affirming (1) reasonable attempts to contact the tenant and negotiate in good faith faith and, (2) that the landlord registered for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program or similar program offered by the state or county.
What Impacted Tenants Need to Know and Do
Chicago residential tenants who have lost income as a direct or indirect result of the COVID-19 pandemic should notify their landlords in writing within five days of receiving an eviction notice to further protect themselves from eviction.
This written notification can take place through letter, email or text message. This can be a message as simple as “I have been unable to pay rent because I have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” A more formal template is available below.
What Happens Next
- Tenants who notify their landlords of a COVID-19 Impact will have the five-day notice period extended by seven days, for a total of 12 days.
During the 12-day period, the landlord must contact the tenant and try to work out with the tenant a plan to avoid eviction.
- During the 12-day period, the landlord must contact the tenant and try to work out with the tenant a plan to avoid eviction.
The plan to avoid eviction could include a repayment plan, mediation or arbitration, letting the tenant use their security deposit to cover the missed rent, an agreement for the tenant to move out without the landlord getting an eviction judgment against them, or other arrangements agreed to by the landlord and tenant.
A repayment plan must give a tenant at least two months to re-pay each month of missed rent, but the landlord and tenant can agree to more time if they choose. The ordinance specifies what interest and fees a landlord can charge on missed rent, how a tenant can show the landlord proof of a COVID-19 Impact, and what happens if the landlord and tenant decide to use the security deposit. Landlords are prohibited from requiring tenants agree to a non-disclosure agreement or waiver of rights related to the condition of the unit as part of an agreement.
- Landlords that received a Tenant Notice of COVID-19 Impact must register with the City of Chicago's Department of Housing, with some exceptions.
The purpose of requiring landlords to register is to notify them of the availability of additional rental assistance options as they become available and to provide tenants with access to additional resources.
This registration must occur no later than the fifth day after issuing a five-day notice of termination of tenancy. Landlords who have applied for emergency rental assistance funds from either the city or state are not required to register.
- The ordinance does not require that the landlord and tenant reach an agreement, but that they make a good faith effort to do so.
If a landlord does not use good faith to try and work out an arrangement with the tenant or does not register with the Department of Housing’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, but files an eviction case anyway, the tenant will have a defense against the eviction.
- Proof of complying with the City’s registration requirement will be required in the event a landlord seeks to file for eviction with the Circuit Court.
Landlords seeking to evict a tenant and that received a notification of COVID-19 impact must file an affidavit affirming they attempted good faith negations with the tenant and registered with the Department of Housing.
Proof of complying with the registration requirement can be accomplished by screen printouts of the DOH registration or downloads of a previously completed ERAP application, with allowable redactions of private or personal information.
Status of Federal and State Eviction Moratoria
State of Illinois
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced that starting Aug. 1, 2021 landlords will be able to file for eviction for nonpayment, and that evictions will not be enforced until Oct. 3, 2021. Visit the City's Eviction and Lockout Resources page for further information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Eviction Moratorium Order that temporarily delayed certain evictions in counties experiencing high levels of COVID-19 transmissions, provided the tenant met certain eligibility requiremments. On Aug. 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that ended the pandemic-related federal moratorium on residential evictions.