CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than a year after it first went into effect, the state's moratorium on evictions will be gradually lifted next month, and Gov. JB Pritzker is urging renters who might be affected to apply for the latest round of financial aid for tenants.
Pritzker first ordered a moratorium on most evictions in Illinois in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, putting many renters at risk of being kicked out of their homes because they were losing income and unable to pay their bills.
The governor amended his executive order in November, providing more protections to landlords, by limiting the moratorium only to renters who have earned no more than $99,000 in annual income -- or $198,000 as joint filers. The updated eviction moratorium also required tenants 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. Renters also were required to make their best efforts to make timely partial payments.
Wednesday afternoon, Pritzker's office said he will issue a new executive order on July 23, allowing for eviction filings to resume in Illinois on Aug. 1. However, enforcement of eviction orders against tenants who qualified for the moratorium will not be allowed until after Aug. 31.
"The Governor's Office has been in close communication with members of the Illinois Supreme Court's COVID-19 Task Force to ensure an orderly phase out of the eviction moratorium. Through a coordinated approach, we hope to relieve the potential pressure on the court system while also ensuring that tenants and landlords have every opportunity to benefit from the State's rental assistance programs," Pritzker's office said in a news release.
For tenants still struggling to pay rent, the state is launching a new $500 million Illinois Rental Payment Program. Renters who have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic, are behind on rent payments, and meet income requirements may receive grants to cover rent for July 2020 through June 2021. They may also be eligible for rental assistance for July, August, and September of 2021. The maximum grant amount is $25,000.
The income limits are based on the area median income in the county where you live. A full list of the program's income limits is available on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website.
The program is expected to cover approximately 63,000 households in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) also has programs available with no deadline for rental assistance and eviction mediation. Illinois residents can visit www.illinoisrentalassistance.org to see all assistance programs available.
State officials plan another round of rental assistance in the fall, using federal funding.
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