(WTVO) — Local landlords continue to count their losses–some saying they have thousands of unpaid rent.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the state’s ban on evictions will expire in August – but after a year of unpaid rent – is it too late? We spoke with Rockford area landlords to find out.
“I’ve witnessed enough landlords who are having serious problems to know that it’s a huge issue,” said Paul Arena of the Rockford Apartment Association.
Pritzker’s plan to end the moratorium comes as Illinois receives over $1 Billion in federal aid to help landlords. The aid for those whose tenants are behind on rent due to the pandemic. Arena says the real issue is non-paying tenants taking advantage of landlords.
“If the tenant can’t prove a COVID-related financial hardship, the landlords just out in the cold,” said Paul Arena.
Arena says a recent example explains why some are choosing not to pay.
“They didn’t act quickly enough to evict those people so those landlords have been unpaid since November of 2019 because there’s nothing they can do about it,” said Arena.
Sean Morrissey is one of those landlords waiting on $22,000 of overdue rent.
“Unfortunately, one hasn’t paid rent since August of 2020 so we’re pushing, what, roughly ten months now going into June. And the other one has not paid rent since February of 2021,” Morrissey.
He is hopeful the new Illinois rental payment program will help both renters and landlords–but the program won’t solve everything.
“If I’m able to recover – let’s say 15,000 dollars through IDA, that’s a win but I’m still eating close to 7,000 dollars, right? Like, that’s insane,” Morrissey said.
Pritzker has since also signed House Bill 2877, sealing eviction records from March 2020 to March 2022.
“So all these people who are taking advantage of landlords, are going to be able to conceal what they did. on top of not getting paid – those people are going to be able to hide it,” said Arena.
Pritzker signed an expansion to the Illinois Rental Relief Program, which will assist 120,000 households. It offers 15 months of rent assistance, or $25,000. Landlords can file a joint application with their tenants through June 7.
Households must meet eligibility requirements found here.