SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS ORDERS EVICTION TRIAGE IN AUGUST
On July 15, 2021, The Supreme Court of Illinois updated and replaced its prior General Order regarding the Court’s response to COVID-19 and evictions. Effective August 1, 2021, the Order seeks to refer newly filed eviction cases to programs offering financial assistance to landlords and tenants. Governor Pritzker announced that he expects to end the eviction moratorium on July 31, and this is an effort to quell a flood of new filings.
The Order provides that all newly filed eviction complaints must be accompanied by a certification that the Plaintiff has provided each tenant with a covid declaration and either has not received a response that they are not a “covered person,” or that the case falls within one of the exceptions to the Governor’s eviction moratorium. The covid declaration and the certification are attached.
A tenant is a covered persons if he or she falls into any one of the four categories: (1) earns less than $99,000/yr; (2) is unable to make rent payments from COVID-19 related hardship; (3) is making best efforts to make partial payments; (4) eviction would render the individual homeless or force him into close quarters in a shared setting. In practical terms, most tenants are covered persons. However, a tenant is not a covered person if they fail to return the declaration.
If a tenant is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the property, then the action falls within the exceptions to the moratorium, and is beyond the scope of the order.
The updated Order also provides that all trials and dispositive motions on pending evictions against covered persons are stayed. In the event that a tenant/defendant does not appear in court on the summons return date, a default will not be entered unless the Plaintiff brings a motion for default and the tenant/defendant fails to appear at the separate hearing on that motion, giving a tenant two chances to appear before default is entered.
The Order will expire on its own terms on September 1, 2021, and it is unclear whether other restrictions will be implemented, or if evictions will return to the pre-Covid status quo.