This is a reprint from Verella Osborne, President-Legal Document Management, Inc, Chicago Creative Investor Associaton
A new Chicago law passed regarding all 5-Day rent notices (or any demands for unpaid rent) served on Chicago tenants after 3/20 are now voided.The new Chicago law requires that a demand for rent served between 3/20 and 9/25 must be accompanied by a Tenant Covid Impact Disclosure notice and a separate Notice for the Tenant to return within 5 days. The tenant doesn’t have to complete this exact form – he may also email or text you with the information. If the tenants inform the landlord within the 5-day notice period that they’ve been financially impacted by Covid, the landlord must provide an additional 7 days after the 5 days expires to offer the tenant an installment payment plan to pay the delinquent rent; the landlord may also demand to see “supporting documentation” of the financial impact on the tenant (e.g. proof of job loss, unemployment, illness, etc.).
You’ll see that the Mandated Disclosure Notice suggests other options that the landlord may offer the tenant, but in my opinion those options are useless – you don’t want to offer to take the tenant to arbitration, as that takes months and isn’t even enforceable. If you offer to waive all or part of the past due rent in exchange for them moving within “a reasonable period of time”, again that’s not enforceable if the tenant doesn’t move – or moves most but not all of their property. The only viable option for a landlord that I recommend is to offer a installment payment plan where the tenant pays current rent effective the next due date, plus an extra payment every 2-4 weeks to get caught up. It doesn’t matter if the installment payment is small; what matters is that you offer it to comply with the law. If the tenant doesn’t sign such an agreement within the 12 days after the 5-day notice is served, then the landlord may file the eviction lawsuit – after 9/1. Remember that the burden is on the landlord – not the tenant – to prove that the landlord made a repayment offer – in writing – within the 12 days, so ensure the offer is made by email or text. If the tenant signs such a repayment agreement, but defaults, then you re-serve another 5-Day Notice with the required notices (until 9/25) before you can file the eviction suit. Unfortunately, the State of Illinois has entered another executive order banning all eviction filings within IL until 8/22/20.
Therefore, if you are waiting to file an eviction suit based on any demand for rent during the period 3/20 to 9/25/20, you must re-serve your tenant as indicated above.
Below are the links for a new, custom 5-day notice and the two mandated notices published by the Chicago Department of Housing, as well as a separate Affidavit of Service. Remember to keep an exact duplicate of all the notices served. Also, remember that this law applies to CHICAGO tenants, only; regular demand notices may be served on all suburban tenants.
Finally, it’s more important than ever for a landlord to take a witness or have some proof when serving a notice on a tenant; we now have to attach the 5-day notice and/or lease to each eviction Complaint, so the tenant and their attorney have access to the proof documents long before the trial. Therefore, landlords need to take witnesses or take a picture of the tenant receiving the notice. You may even record the service as long as you tell the tenant he’s being recorded.