SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday extended its order limiting judgements in certain eviction cases to Oct. 3, putting it in line with the governor’s latest executive order.
The only thing changed in the Supreme Court order was the date it is set to expire, from Sept. 18 to Oct. 3. It still prevents dispositive motions, trials on the merits or judgments in residential eviction proceedings against a “covered person.” Eviction cases can otherwise proceed as normal.
Covered persons include those who expect to earn less than $99,000 individually or $198,000 in a joint filing household, if they’ve experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tenant must also certify they are making “best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment” as “circumstances permit.”
An eviction case can be exempt from the order if the landlord can prove they shared the necessary documentation with the tenant but did not receive proof that the tenant qualified as a covered person. Landlords can also seek a judgement if a rental aid application has been denied or if the tenant refused to apply for one.
In a news release, the court said the extension will allow more renters to apply for aid through a court-based rental assistance program which launched earlier this month and received $60 million in funding.
That program would allow a tenant to receive up to 12 months of past-due rent and three months in future rent, provided they can prove a loss of income due to COVID-19.
The Supreme Court has required that any summons in an eviction case must be accompanied by a form informing the tenant and landlord of the court-based program. It includes information on the program, what documentation is needed and the web address for the court-based aid, ilrpp.ihda.org. The Illinois Housing Development Authority call center can be reached at 866-454-3571.
The governor’s order, which he extended Friday, prevents law enforcement from enforcing an eviction of a covered person.
Assistance may also still be available in certain areas through the Illinois Department of Human Services and the IHDA, the two state agencies overseeing disbursement of federal funding, at https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org/providers.
In a statement Monday, Pritzker’s office noted Illinois paid out more than $230 million in federal funds in 2020 and has made more than $500 million available this year for rental assistance programs.
“While the eviction moratorium has kept families suffering hardship from losing their homes during the pandemic, these programs and additional resources will ensure families have a roof over their heads while they regain their financial footing into the future,” Alex Hanns, a Pritzker spokesperson, said in an email.
“As we continue with the planned sunset of the eviction moratorium in coordination with the court system, the Illinois Housing Development Authority will continue to review the pipeline of completed applications, and the Illinois Department of Human Services will continue to accept applications for additional rental assistance until funding runs out,” he added.
The funds come from the federal government, which means applicants must be under certain income limits as defined by the U.S. Treasury. Those earning 80 percent of the area median income or less are eligible. That threshold differs based on the county, ranging from $35,700 in Alexander County to $52,200 in Cook County. It goes up about $5,000-$6,000 for each additional person in the household.
Free legal assistance may be accessed through Eviction Help Illinois by visiting evictionhelpillinois.org or calling 855-631-0811.