CHICAGO (CBS) — There was some good news Wednesday for Chicago and Illinois families worried about getting kicked out of their homes.
There will be no evictions in the state for weeks, and the city is offering even more safeguards after that.
Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday extended the statewide no eviction rule until the end of July. Also Wednesday, the City Council approved a plan to protect tenants from eviction if they have lost income due to the pandemic.
But both tenants and landlords say it’s not enough. They are demanding real protection for people facing eviction.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra was Working for Chicago Wednesday, explaining the new programs and why some say they need more help.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed an ordinance with new protections for tenants who have lost income due to the pandemic. Those safeguards would stay in place for two months after the state moratorium on evictions ends.
As it stands right now, that would be the end of September.
The ordinance passed 37-12 at a City Council meeting on Wednesday. But both tenants and landlords call it insufficient.
“It’s better than nothing, and it’s not quite enough,” said Jesse Connor of the Autonomous Tenants Union.
Mayor Lightfoot’s COVID-19 eviction proposal would require a seven-day cooling-off period after landlords send an eviction notice due to unpaid rent.
If the tenant has lost income due to the pandemic, their landlord would have to make an effort to negotiate a deal, such as allowing two months to pay back each month of missed rent.
But Connor said it doesn’t go far enough.
“We still have tenants who are going to be stuck facing debts for rents that they could not pay because they lost work, for honoring the stay-at-home order, for having businesses shut down,” Connor said.
The Autonomous Tenants Union is calling for actual rent relief that would free tenants who have lost income during the pandemic out of their obligation to pay back that missed rent entirely.
Connor said all the ordinance is doing is delaying an impending eviction crisis.
“All it is doing is kicking the can further down the road,” he said.
Attorney Lori Quist has handled thousands of eviction cases. She said this appears to be a lose-lose.
“It’s going to hurt everybody,” Quist said. “It’s going to hurt landlords, tenants, and City of Chicago and the State of Illinois negatively.”
Quist said landlords might have to wait an additional three to six months for their money, and not all of them can afford that.
“A lot of my smaller landlords that don’t own a lot of properties,” Quist said. “Many of them retired and elderly.”
She said although the ordinance said such landlords would not be impacted, Quist said she is not convinced.
“Not for the small people,” she said, “and who’s paying for this? City? Taxpayer money? Federal? We all know how well that works.”
An average of 36,000 evictions are filed every year in Cook County. Another tenant protection proposal from Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) was also introduced Wednesday, but it was sent to the Rules Committee.
CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.
We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.