Rockford landlords say eviction moratorium hurts good tenants

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois Department of Human Services says nearly 60,000 households are still at risk for eviction. But a new bill could change that.

The recently introduced House Bill 2877 could ease some guidelines with the current moratorium. However, as of Wednesday, it awaits the signature of Gov. JB Pritzker.

“Using the court records to check for past evictions is now useless,” said Rockford Apartment Association’s Director of Legislative and Community Affairs Paul Arena.

A new house bill and the current eviction moratorium are facing pushback from landlords
including Paul Arena.

“They tagged onto the bill two provisions, one that creates some structure on when cases can be sealed and the second a provision that’s related to covid that seals all eviction cases at the time of filing, beginning in March of last year,” said Arena.

That now extends through March 2022. Under the moratorium, only those who are dangerous or cause severe damage could be evicted.

“The bill protects those people and exposes landlords and neighbors of the rental property to the danger of having bad tenants move in,” said Arena.

Karl Fauerback, the Rockford Apartment Association President, owns over 100 units in the Rockford area. He says his concerns are the unknowns.

“It’s our responsibility as landlords to provide safe, clean places for people to call their home and if we don’t have the ability to properly screen tenants, then we lose that,” said Fauerbach.

Records can still be viewed prior to the pandemic. Arena says landlords can take steps to protect their units and tenants.

“You know, gaps in the history, so if a tenant on their application, they can’t document their last landlord, they’re not giving you phone numbers, especially if you go look at the tax record and the same of the taxpayer, isn’t the same as the landlord you’ve been given,” said Arena.

Arena says he thinks tenants will actually have it harder. With the increase in housing demand and limited access to background checks, he says renters will now need to prove they’re a good tenant.

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