CHICAGO (CBS) — Wednesday is April first. For many, that’s when the rent is due.
But with COVID-19 pushing many out of work, coming up with that payment is going to be difficult.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams looks at some suggestions for renters.
In densely populated Chicago alone, many people rent, living in two or three flats, to high rise apartments to single family homes.
So what happens if you’ve lost your job because of COVID-19 and can’t pay?
“The fact that somebody signs a legally binding contract, it just doesn’t become legally void because you’re not working and even if there’s a crisis situation. The fact is the landlord is still owed the rent,” said landlord Cherie Travis.
But Travis, who owns several rental properties, recommends suddenly out of work tenants at least meet with their landlord to see if a payment plan can be arranged.
“My response would be ‘how much can you afford to pay on the first and are you expecting to get unemployment? Are you looking for other work? What kinds of things can try to work so we can come up with a timeline for what the tenant can manage,'” Travis said.
On Wednesday, public officials and tenants’ rights group will hold a virtual town hall meeting, demanding Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot freeze the collection of rent, mortgage and utility payment during the COVID-19 crisis.
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) is a member of that coalition.
“The key thing here is no one should lose their home whether it’s a small time owner-occupied property, we don’t want that property owner to lose their home. But we don’t want the tenants to lose their homes either,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
The governor and mayor have not proposed such a freeze, but evictions have been stopped through the stay at home order.
And several major banks are offering mortgage relief plans. Travis offered another another suggestion to property owners and renters alike: talk.
“I think this not the time for tenants and landlords to be adversarial. I think it’s time for tenants and landlords to try to work together,” Travis said.
The city of Chicago is offering $1,000 housing grants to 2,000 Chicagoan. It’s a one-time award.
Some recipients selected by through a lottery. Others by non-profit organizations.