Illinois tenants fear eviction when federal moratorium ends


ILLINOIS – After four extensions and numerous court challenges, the federal moratorium protecting Illinois tenants from evictions during the pandemic is expected to expire in just days.

The moratorium, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officially ends on July 31. The most recent extension was released in June, and federal officials have indicated they have no plans to extend it again.

While some states, including Illinois, have given tenants a few extra weeks of protection, millions of people fear losing their homes.

Two weeks before the moratorium ends, more than 1.4 million Americans say it is very likely that they will be evicted from their homes within the next two months, according to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

On top of that, around 4.9 million renters say they have no confidence in their ability to pay rent next month, while 7.4 million are still trying to catch up on rent payments.

While the federal government funneled over $ 46 billion in aid to tenants across the country during the pandemic, distributing that money has proven difficult. In some cases, the money never reached its intended recipients.

In the end, little was done to stem an almost certain wave of eviction proceedings once the moratorium was lifted. Meanwhile, the White House is pushing state and municipal governments to do all they can to avoid a deportation crisis.

“It is fundamentally the responsibility of state and local governments to get relief into the hands of tenants and landlords,” said Susan Rice, director of the White House Home Policy Council, at a meeting early July.

Here’s what’s happening in Illinois as the end of the federal eviction moratorium approaches:

Anxiety among Illinois tenants is high

Illinois tenants share the same fears as others across the country. Almost 25,209 renters in our state say it is very likely that they will be evicted from their homes in the next two months.

Meanwhile, 59,416 tenants say they have no confidence in their ability to pay their rent next month and 252,800 are still trying to catch up on rent payments, according to the Census Bureau.

Evictions could increase after moratorium

Unsurprisingly, evictions in Illinois and other states across the country fell in 2020, according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

In a typical year, homeowners file about 3.7 million eviction cases in court; however, from March to December 2020, eviction requests fell by 65% ​​in cities and states tracked by the Eviction Lab.

This was especially true in states and municipalities that prohibited homeowners from taking the first steps of the eviction process, which included issuing eviction notices or filing cases in court.

Today, experts say a deportation crisis is “looming” in the United States.

Through its research, the Princeton University group noted that evictions increased for short periods throughout the pandemic when no moratorium was in place. For example, in the two weeks between the end of CARES coverage and the start of a moratorium extension, evictions increased 68% from the historical average. As of August 30, deposits had returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The increase, the researchers said, suggests that landlords were keenly aware of the moratoria in place and were prepared to evict tenants who had not paid their rent as soon as it was legally permitted.

About 16% of adult renters were not up to date on their housing payments as of July 2021, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“We are going to see what we managed to avoid: this wave of evictions that will just crush some of these areas,” John Pollock, coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, told CNBC. .

Tenants of color more at risk

While fewer eviction cases have been filed throughout the pandemic, black and Latino tenants – especially female tenants – are at a disproportionate risk of being filed against for eviction and being evicted, according to the Eviction. Lab.

Eviction Lab data showed that cases filed after March 15, 2020, targeted the same communities and individuals who were most at risk of eviction before the pandemic.

Notably, black tenants received a disproportionate share of all eviction requests. While black tenants represent 22.8% of all tenants tracked by the eviction lab, they were the subject of 35.2% of all eviction requests between March 15 and December 31.

The Status of Deportation Protection in Illinois

Are Illinois officials doing anything to prevent a deportation crisis? As the federal moratorium expires on July 31, Illinois officials have said that enforcement of eviction orders against tenants qualified for the moratorium would not be allowed until after August 31.

What tenants can do

Although the process of finding and obtaining help varies from state to state, the Treasury Department has published a list of emergency rental assistance programs from state, local and tribal governments. to help people find help.

The Office of Consumer Financial Protection has also issued guidelines for tenants, landlords and landlords.

For tenants, the office offers advice on paying rent and utilities, as well as discussing a payment agreement with your landlord. It also describes what you can do to avoid eviction and reviews your rights as a tenant.

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