Two competing renter’s assistance bills are attempting to gain passage in the Illinois General Assembly by Friday. The Emergency and Economic Recovery Renter and Homeowner Protection Act, which Chicago Democrat Rep. Delia Ramirez introduced Friday, would cancel rent debt and suspend mortgage payments for those experiencing hardships related to COVID-19.
Springfield Republican Representative Tim Butler has introduced a separate bill in the General Assembly. His would provide rent assistance for coronavirus-impacted households if their landlord agrees to participate in the program. The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act would require landlords to not increase rental rates or charge late fees, and in return, they would receive at least 80% of the owed rent, which they would have to accept as full payment, for up to seven months of rent between April 1 and Oct. 31.
Both bills would have to pass both chambers over the next 3 days to send it to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk for a signature by June 1st before rent is due for many residents of the state. While Pritzker has placed a moratorium on evictions statewide since the stay-at-home order went into effect March 20, he has insisted that he legally cannot repeal the state ban on rent regulation which would allow municipalities to take individual action. The Chicago Tribune says that additional housing legislation introduced Monday would provide a 90-day grace period for property tax payments and waive interest penalties for late payments.
Bulter and Rameirez’s bills currently await passage out of committee prior to a second reading and possible vote in the General Assembly’s shortened session this week.