CHICAGO (CBS) — The interest penalties for late payment of second-installment property tax bills due later this year in Cook County will be delayed, giving property owners struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic more time to pay up without a late fee.

“These are incredibly difficult times for our residents and this measure creates much-needed breathing room for Cook County property owners,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “With residents and businesses facing so many challenges and difficulties because of the coronavirus, waiving late fees on property taxes is the right thing to do right now. This can keep residents in their homes and allow businesses much needed time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The waiver must be approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Preckwinkle’s office said the ordinance will be introduced to the board on May 21.

The waiver would mean property owners would have until Oct. 1 to pay without facing a 1.5% interest penalty. Bills are normally due by Aug. 3.

Cook County Board of Review chairman Michael Cabonargi said officials hope the waiver will convince landlords to provide more leniency to tenants who are struggling to pay rent, “particularly those in black and brown communities that have been both disproportionately infected by the virus and impacted by the financial ramifications of the shelter-in-place order.”

The Cook County Treasurer’s office collects approximately $12 billion in property taxes every year on behalf of hundreds of local governments, school districts, and other taxing bodies.

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi — whose office determines official property values for every home, business, and piece of land in the county — already has announced that the county will adjust assessments countywide to reflect the impact of the pandemic on real estate values. While property tax assessments are used to determine the tax bill for each piece of property in the county, the adjusted assessments won’t affect tax bills until next year.