Cook County throws lifeline to homeowners struggling with mortgages

Decision will waive late-payment interest penalties on properties for 2 months, erasing billions in fees

Chicago /
May.May 14, 2020 10:01 AM
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said homeowners will be given a two-month reprieve on late-payment interest penalties. (Preckwinkle by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images; iStock)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said homeowners will be given a two-month reprieve on late-payment interest penalties. (Preckwinkle by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images; iStock)

For Cook County homeowners, every little bit helps.

As the state considers delaying property tax payments, county officials have approved a measure to waive late-payment interest penalties on properties for two months, according to Crain’s.

Payments that had been due Aug. 3 are now due Oct. 1. The late fees would not accrue during that period, Crain’s reported. It follows similar moves by several of the suburban collar towns.

The decision to erase billions of dollars of late fees on second-half property bills comes as Chicago and county residents remain under stay-at-home orders through May.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, “These are incredibly difficult times for our residents and this measure creates much-needed breathing room for Cook County property owners,” according to the report.

This week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers said they would consider defering property tax bills to aid struggling homeowners during the crisis. Pritzker had previously been opposed to such a move, which if passed would cut into the budgets of towns and cities.

And in April, Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office said it was planning to reevaluate every single property because of the impact of the pandemic. Normally, only one-third of the county is reassessed in a given year, but Kaegi said the reassessments have to be done due to the virus’ impacts on various asset types, the extent of which won’t be realized until the 2021 tax bills are due. [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman 


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