CHA defers rent through April, Lightfoot wants landlords to do the same

Lightfoot again asked landlords to show their tenants “grace” during the coronavirus crisis

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The Chicago Housing Authority is deferring rent for thousands of tenants through the end of the month, in line with the newly extended statewide stay-at-home order.

On Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the announcement, and asked private landlords to grant the same reprieve to renters who have been laid off or furloughed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the Sun-Times reported.

“My hope is that we will give each other grace. I understand that landlords have mortgages and they have other bills to pay. But in this time where a lot of renters are really being pressed, I would absolutely urge, if it all possible, to forego this month’s payment, just to give people a little bit of peace of mind and a cushion in really, really tight financial circumstances,” the mayor said during the press conference.

Renters across Chicago are concerned about their ability to pay rent each month as the pandemic continues. Ahead of the April 1 due date, many landlords said they’re willing to work out payment plans with tenants but not completely forgive rent.

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Many renters who participated in the Autonomous Tenants Union’s virtual town hall on Wednesday said they’re running out of money, and some said their landlords haven’t even addressed the crisis with them or encouraged them to get another job, like at a grocery store, so they could pay the full month’s rent, according to the Sun-Times.

Also on Wednesday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order extending his stay-at-home order through April. It went into effect March 21 and was initially set to expire April 7.

Evictions have been halted in Cook County at least through April 30.

Across the country, multifamily landlords have asked for the federal government to enact a 90-day forbearance on mortgage payments.

[Sun-Times] — Brianna Kelly