Chicago tenants and landlords face uncertainty with April rent checks looming

More than 15K people have signed a petition supporting a rent freeze, which comes as coronavirus continues to upend the economy

Chicago /
Mar.March 31, 2020 03:00 PM
From left: J.B. Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot (Credit: Joshua Lott and   KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

From left: J.B. Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot (Credit: Joshua Lott and KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

A rent strike appears to be on the table in Chicago, as thousands of residents who have lost their jobs and had their livelihoods upended by the coronavirus are facing increasing financial uncertainty. Landlords are bracing for the falloff in rental payments on April 1, as they are in other large cities including New York.

A group called Autonomous Tenants Union launched an online petition — it had over 15,000 signatures by Tuesday morning — calling on Mayor Lori Lightfoot to freeze rental payments, along with mortgages and utility payments, according to the Chicago Tribune. The organization is calling for a ban on new eviction and foreclosure filings.

But a Chicago Department of Housing spokesperson said a statewide ban on rent regulations prohibits Lightfoot from enacting any such measures, according to the Tribune. Illinois now remains under a statewide stay-at-home order in which Gov. J.B. Prtizker also called for a halt on evictions. The order has been extended, from April 7, through month’s end, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

Some renters are willing to pay rent on April 1 to avoid retaliation, including a future eviction, but say it may be impossible to pay on May 1, according to the report. Eviction proceedings are still being filed even though tenants cannot be thrown out.

Some Chicago-area landlords have said they are willing to work out payment plans, but still expect the rental checks.

Tenants at 100 Hyde Park rental buildings owned by Antheus Capital — Mac Properties is the management arm — expressed frustration with the company’s lack of response to their concerns. According to the Tribune, Mac Properties said it will work with tenants on a case by case basis. [Tribune]Brianna Kelly


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