Am I protected from Eviction because of COVID?

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about whether or not landlords can evict tenants in Chicago during the current COVID crisis. You’ve got questions and has answers. 

In order to know how the law applies to your situation, it’s important to understand a few basics about the eviction. Eviction is a legal process, and there are several steps:

  1. Notice: If a landlord wants to evict you because you’ve fallen behind on rent, they have to first give you a 5-day notice.
  2. Filing: If you don’t fix the problem by paying in full during those 5 days, the landlord can file an eviction case in court. 
  3. Service: You have the right to know when a case is filed against you, so you have to be served with the court paperwork.
  4. Court: After you’ve been served, there will be some sort of resolution in court. If your landlord wins at trial, there will be an Eviction Order. Otherwise, you might agree to a settlement for an agreed move-out-date or a payment plan.
  5. Enforcement: The Sheriff has to enforce all Eviction Orders and is the only one that can come to your apartment to physically remove you from the property. 

Tenant protections for COVID are different at each stage in the process. In Illinois, the Governor has issued an executive order that prevents most eviction filings (step 2) which will last through the end of July. But, in many cases landlords can still give 5 day notices. If live in Chicago and you cannot pay your rent, it may be a good idea to send a ‘Notice of Covid Impact‘ to your landlord.

The Federal CARES Act, prohibits notices and filings for some tenants that live in properties with federally backed mortgages (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac) and buildings that benefit from federal subsidies until July 25, 2020.