Rental assistance not helping most landlords, group says

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(The Center Square) – There are a few more weeks for landlords and their tenants in Illinois who haven’t paid rent because of the eviction moratorium to apply for some of more than $1.5 billion in rental assistance, but not every situation is eligible.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority announced they’ve paid out $70 million so far in retinal assistance from the program implemented this spring. There are around 70,000 landlords that have applied for a total of $664 million. The Pritzker administration says that’s of the $1.5 billion available.

Applications for the assistance are being accepted through July 18 at the website

ILRPP.IHDA.org

.

Paul Arena with the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association says some of his members are getting assistance, but not everyone.

“I’m on the Winnebago County Board, so I have access to data,” Arena said. “We seem to be approving about a third of the applications that we process, so two-thirds of the people are unqualified either because they can’t provide the necessary documentation or they just didn’t have a COVID-related hardship.”

Many landlords are going to be left out in the cold because of eligibility caps.

“A couple with the eviction moratorium was like $195,000. These funds are being made available to people who are at 80% of the area median income,” Arena said. “That’s a huge difference.”

While some landlords may be apprehensive of taking part in the program, Arena hears more of landlords who have tenants that aren’t being cooperative.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker in May insisted the law he enacted for the rental assistance that also seals eviction records wasn’t designed to protect bad actors.

“We’re not talking about bad actors. We’re talking about people who’ve been affected by a global pandemic, people whose lives have been turned upside down,” Pritzker said. “In my view, it’s unfair to put that burden upon them that this is something that would sit on their record.”

“That’s completely false,” Arena said. “It seals all eviction records.”

Arena said the law doesn’t distinguish, making it difficult for landlords to properly vet future tenants.

Even if Pritzker lifts the moratorium in August, that won’t help landlords who’ve gone more than a year without getting rent from their tenants.

“People are walking away from properties,” Arena said. “They can’t go on much longer before we just expand this into a whole new crisis of foreclosures and abandoned property.” 

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June 24, 2021 at 02:49PM

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