By Jermont Terry

CHICAGO (CBS) — There is a new push to get renters to stay in their apartments longer, but landlords may not be on board.

Evictions except in cases of emergency are still halted in Illinois, and this proposed legislation could extend that even longer. The catch is that landlords get a check, but many are questioning if the amount is worth it.

There is no denying people are facing hard times, and rent for many is hard to pay during the pandemic. The CBS 2 Investigators showed how landlords are affected, too. One woman was forced to live in her car with her daughter when her tenant did not pay and would not move out and she could not get him evicted.

Now there is an attempt in Springfield to keep tenants from getting evicted for up to two years.

“The problem with this statute is really it doesn’t allow the parties involved to sit down on equal bargaining grounds, and let’s think about what’s best for our building,” said property owner and attorney Ebony Lucas.

Lucas knows firsthand what no rent means.

“We’re not talking about water bills. We’re not talking about cleaning, grass cutting, snow removal, all of the other expenses related to the building that housing providers rely on the rent that’s coming in in order to do those things,” she said.

Under this legislation landlords would agree to accept funds directly, but they cannot ask any tenants to leave. It means the eviction moratorium gets extended for a year or more under the deal.

“They’re making it too hard on the landlord,” said attorney Matthew Payne.

Payne said the payout to landlords would need to be financially beneficial for them to let a tenant stay rent free for that long.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it needs to be lucrative, but it needs to be meaningful,” he said.

And with landlords owed various amounts in back pay, he admits some might jump at the chance to get some cash.

“What they’re providing you at least gives you some cash flow,” he said. “I don’t think I would give a blanket do it or don’t do it to landlords.”

Yet if landlords agree, there is a lingering problem, Lucas says.

“If someone is trying to sell a property, the statute does not address that I can’t sell a property to an owner-occupant because I can’t ask a tenant to leave according to this legislation,” Lucas said. “I represent mostly mom and pop landlords.”

The exact amount landlords would get is not clear, but the tenant must be on board with the money going to their landlord.

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