The Governor has worried publicly about a pending flood of evictions, the landlords association has noted. That is a problem caused by the moratorium.
A state appeals court has been asked to step in and decide whether Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has the power to indefinitely continue issuing executive orders, prohibiting landlords, many of whom say they are approaching financial ruin, from forcing apartment and rental house tenants to either pay their rent or face eviction.
Attorneys for a group of owners of apartment buildings and rental homes confirmed they have appealed the ruling of a Will County judge, who determined Illinois law gives Pritzker the power to continue to impose a moratorium on evictions, which has been in place since March. The landlords had sued Pritzker, arguing his anti-eviction orders violated their constitutional property rights, and amounted to an illegal taking of their property, by forcing them to foot the bill for the tenants’ continued use of their property, even if the tenants took advantage of the situation by simply refusing to pay rent.
The order blocks landlords from even beginning the process of removing non-paying tenants from their properties, or continuing eviction processes that had begun before the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and Pritzker’s use of emergency powers to combat the disease’s spread.
Even as the appeal moves forward, Pritzker renewed the eviction moratorium on Aug. 22, extending the tenant protection measures another 30 days, to Sept. 19, at least. The extension came a few days after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, whose office enforces evictions in Chicago and suburban Cook, publicly asked Pritzker to prevent a “tsunami” of evictions that would follow the lifting of the eviction ban.
Pritzker has argued, and Dart has agreed, that lifting the eviction ban at this point in the pandemic would result in a new wave of homelessness and transience that would, in turn, make it harder to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
Landlords, however, had a different take on the extension of the order.
They said unemployment benefits have “successfully supported renters” amid the pandemic and the lockdown restrictions imposed by governors, including Pritzker, to fight it, which contributed to an historic economic downturn.
The IRPOA pointed to data supplied by the National Multifamily Housing Council, which they said showed only 2% more tenants have not paid their rent to this point in 2020, compared to 2019.