Watch CBS News

'I'll Lose Everything' Chicago Landlord Laments Loophole To Let Tenants Avoid Paying Rent

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago landlord said she hasn't been paid rent in more than two years.

But now, the state is offering relief. However, she can't get the free cash.

She reached out to CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov for help. The landlord said all she needs is a signature from her tenant.

But the tenant isn't cooperating. And CBS 2 found it's a loophole leaving many landlords in the lurch.

A 74-year-old landlord sifts through hundreds of documents related to troubles with her tenant, a woman who lives in a West Pullman house the senior citizen owns - and hasn't paid her a cent of rent since February, 2019.

She owes almost $31,000.

"We haven't been able to pay the taxes because we don't have any money.  We haven't been able to pay the water bill."

She doesn't want to be identified but reached out to CBS 2 in desperation. She'd hoped the state's new rental assistance program might help get her back rent.

"We just can't reach her."

A problem, because both landlord and tenant have to apply.

CBS 2 asked because unless the tenant signs the papers, you can't be helped!

"I'm consistently hearing that."

Landlord attorney Lori Quist said it's a critical loophole also affecting many of her clients who, right now, have no recourse.

"I think it would have been very nice when theses agencies are implementing these policies that they reach out to the landlord to speak to attorneys who are regularly entrenched in this," Quist said.

CBS 2 tried to speak with the tenant. Someone eventually answered the door only to slam it shut.

Quist said she's advising her clients to call the Illinois Housing Authority.

"At least maybe, once the moratorium is lifted, they can tell a judge they did everything possible."

But this landlord has no money to even call a lawyer.

"I can't do anything but take the loss," she said. "I'll lose everything that I've worked so hard for, down through the years."

The landlord said she tried to get help from a housing agency but reached another dead end.

The deadline for landlords to complete the application statewide is Monday, June 7, so her time is running out.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.