Illinois Rental Property Owners Association and DeKalb Area Renters Association (DARA) have reacted to the notice from Governor Pritzker on eviction notices through a press release to local media outlets.
“Governor Pritzker has announced he intends to again extend his eviction moratorium. At the beginning of the pandemic, a reasonable person could agree that keeping renters in place made sense for public health. But at this point in the pandemic, the Governor’s actions can no longer be considered reasonable.
Here are the facts.
According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, in a nationwide analysis using data from the most popular property management software platforms, 86.9% of renters had paid rent as of August 13th.
That is less than a 2% decrease in payment from the same time last year. The survey can be viewed at this link
There is no rent payment crisis as Governor Pritzker has claimed. Unemployment benefits have successfully supported renters during the pandemic. The data supports that fact.
The Governor’s method to prevent displacement of renters has been to deny housing providers access to the courts. Eviction can be the ultimate result of a long legal process, but Governor Pritzker has gone so far as to prohibit housing providers from even accessing the courts to allow an impartial judge to sort out the facts of a lease dispute.
In fact, even though the Governor’s order states that tenants are still responsible for rent, he has prohibited a housing provider from just notifying a tenant that they are behind in rent payments. Does that seem reasonable or even necessary to protect public safety? Furthermore, the Governor’s order prohibits the enforcement of orders to vacate that were issued by the courts prior to the pandemic. These lease defaults are clearly not related to the virus. In fact, they are not even all related to non-payment of rent.
The Governor’s order is much more than a moratorium on displacing renters. It is a moratorium on citizen’s access to the courts. Access to the courts is a fundamental constitutional right.
The Governor has justified his actions by claiming time is needed to allow a rental assistance program, which is restricted to renters who are behind in rent because of the virus, to be up and running. But surveys show that there are only about 2% of additional renters behind in rent now during the pandemic as compared to last year.
What about all of the cases unrelated to COVID that are accumulating because the governor has denied access to the courts? There is no program to help in those cases. There is no program to help in cases that were decided by the courts before we ever heard of COVID-19.
The Governor has worried publicly about a pending flood of evictions. That is a problem caused by the moratorium. If we are going to help people who can’t pay rent because of the virus, then we should allow the courts to sort things out and then prohibit the courts from ordering eviction in cases where the virus is the cause of the default. Let the court system function normally for non-COVID related cases.
The eviction moratorium is an overly broad approach intended to protect one group but tramples on the constitutional rights of others. The long-term harm being caused does not justify the limited benefit of this policy. If the Governor would engage with housing providers a better solution could be developed. Most housing providers are working-class people with a few investment properties for supplemental income.
The payoffs of those investments are long-term but the financial obligations associated with owning property are immediate. Many of these investments are going to fail because of a misguided policy. This policy is causing significant harm to people who tried to invest in Illinois. They did nothing wrong but financial futures are unnecessarily being destroyed.”
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