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As COVID Surge Continues, Gov. JB Pritzker Extends Eviction Moratorium, Adds New Protections For Landlords

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday said he will extend the statewide moratorium on evictions for another 30 days, as new coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, but he is also providing new protections for landlords who have complained that some tenants who can afford their rent have been refusing to pay.

"This new moratorium will ensure the rents are paid by tenants who may have been taking advantage of the eviction moratorium, but who are in fact able to make their monthly rent payments," Pritzker said.

Pritzker first issued a moratorium on evictions on March 20, and has issued 30-day extensions multiple times since. Until the new extension, it had been set to expire on Nov. 14.

Under the new eviction moratorium, only renters who have earned no more than $99,000 in annual income -- or $198,000 as joint filers -- for this year are covered.

Renters unable to pay will be required to submit a declaration form to their landlords, certifying they can't pay rent due to substantial loss of income or increase in out-of-pocket expenses, according to Pritzker. The declaration forms are available through the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The state has halted virtually all evictions since March 20, except in emergencies when "a tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants, an immediate and severe risk to property, or a violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation."

Pritzker said his new order regarding evictions will clarify that enforcement of pre-pandemic eviction orders can move forward if there are serious health or safety concerns.

Meantime, Pritzker said the state will continue to distribute rental assistance and mortgage assistance payments that have been available since August, when Illinois launched $300 million housing assistance program.

"Housing stability has been crucial to helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and keep people safe. Since the beginning of this pandemic, I've insisted that people need to be able to stay home without fear of eviction, because too often for too many eviction leads to shared housing, congregate settings, or even homelessness; all concerning risk factors for catching COVID-19," he said.

To date, Illinois has distributed $182 million in rental assistance for 36,400 tenants, paid directly to landlords; and $36 million in mortgage assistance to 4,300 homeowners who lost their job or saw a drop in income due to pandemic.

Pritzker said, by end of year, the state will have helped 40,000 landlords and tenants with $200 million in rent payments, and 10,000 homeowners with $100 million in mortgage assistance.

"Even with all of that positive impact, people are still hurting financially from this pandemic. The need is enormous for landlords, for renters, and for home mortgage holders alike," Pritzker said. "Both the rental and mortgage assistance programs were oversubscribed two-to-one, and that's not even counting people in need who might never have applied at all."

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