Renters Resources during COVID-19

Last updated: March 21, 2020 – 6:47 AM

What You Should Know

(Updated on 7/23//20)

Are You Unable to Pay Rent?

  • Talk to your landlord or property manager right now if you anticipate an issue paying rent. Put all your conversations in writing.
  • If you live in private market housing, use the sample letter below to draft a letter to your landlord immediately.
  • If you live in subsidized housing, make sure you request a re-certification immediately. Use the sample letter below to send a request to your housing provider.

LEGAL ISSUES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

*For more info about a specific topic, click any headline below*

How can I get help from HUD or CHA?  

  • HUD is open for business but will NOT accept walk-in visitors at this time. They will provide services via phone/online while they focus efforts on serving people most in need.
    • Online: Click Here
    • Email: Send an email to: IL_Webmanager@hud.gov  (note: underscore between IL_ and Webmanager)
    • By Phone: Call your local office: (312) 353-6236

  • CHA is open for business but will NOT accept walk-in visitors at this time.
    • By Phone: Call your local office: (312) 742-8500
  • No matter who your housing provider is, you should contact them immediately if your income has changed. Send them a letter requesting an income re-certification.

Have a specific question?

CLICK HERE TO SEND US AN EMAIL

More COVID-19 Resources

City of Chicago Corona Virus Response Center

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Utilities
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Illinois Housing Action’s comprehensive COVID-19 Resources website

  • State, County and local resource lists
  • Situation updates
  • Information specific to renters who need assistance

Centers for Disease Control website

  • Downloadable factsheets and flyers in English, Spanish and Simplified Chinese
  • Health and hygiene recommendations
  • Travel guidance
  • Situation updates
  • Information specific to schools, workplaces, etc.

Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 website

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Regularly posted updates on new cases in Illinois
  • Updated cautions and advisories
  • Recommendations specific to Illinois

Cook County Department of Public Health website 

  • Information for healthcare providers and communities
  • Detailed health and hygiene recommendations
  • Contact information for suburban Cook County
  • Information for individuals: Clean, Cover and Contain

COVID-19 INFO HOTLINES

Illinois Dept. of Public Health’s hotline: 800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov

The City of Chicago hotline: 312-746-4835 or email coronavirus@chicago.gov 

Do you live in Evanston? Check out the virtual training below:

All 20 Comments

  1. I recently graduated college and moved to Chicago to start a new job and signed a lease in February but after 3 weeks was laid off due to the pandemic. I do not qualify for unemployment and I need to return to my parents home. What is the best way to get out of my lease?

    1. It is important to communicate with your landlord about your situation. Do you have a co-signer? It may be more difficult to negotiation an end to the lease if the landlord thinks that he can get money from someone. In you communication let the landlord know that you are willing to leave and the date that you can leave by. Let the landlord know you know your rights and that if the landlord is unwilling to negotiate an end to the lease then you could stay and wait to be evicted which may take months as the Governor just recently extended the eviction moratorium until July 31. See what the landlord says . Call out hotline 773-292-4988 and let us know what the landlord says and whether there is any room to negotiate.

  2. My landlord has place our townhome on the market and want to conduct in-person showings. I feel unsafe and pressured. Please advise

    1. Now that the Governor’s Stay at Home order has changed, the landlord can show the unit. If you are older or more at risk of COVID, you could inform the landlord that you do not want anyone in your unit. I would ask if there are any alternatives to showing such as video showing of the unit. The landlord still has to provide you with a 2 day notice of their intent to enter. If it is a bad time, you could refuse that time. Certainly you can make restrictions such as a mask is required, no touching anything, require gloves and other safety precautions

  3. Hi, I was planning on renting a place in Chicago this summer for an internship. I signed a lease for the summer but then my internship was cancelled. I want to get out of the lease but the lease says that I’m still obligated to pay the full amount and there is no termination clause / opt out. I have emailed them trying to negotiate to no response. Is there anything I can do? I don’t plan on ever entering the property.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Breaking a lease is not easy. My first question is did the landlord attach a summary of Chicago’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance to your lease. If not then the tenant can terminate the lease. The law allows you to find a subletter for the apartment. If you decide not to move in the landlord is required to try and rent the unit and if the unit is rented, you can only be held liable for the time the unit is vacant plus renting costs.

  4. Hello I am a month to month tenant and I only was able to pay half of my rent in April and now in May. I recently received a letter from my landlord association of a Notice of termination for June 6. Can they force me to vacate the premises.

    1. Two things first a landlord will still have to go to court to actually evict you. Currently the courts are closed until June. Once June comes then the landlord will have to to serve you with court papers, go to court and then if you lost would be able to evict you.

      My question get anything in writing regarding your partial rent payment. Was there anything in the agreement where the landlord said they would not evict you for a specific period of time. Also when you say they gave you a notice of termination for June 6, what is the reason for the termination? Does it say anything on the notice.

      Lastly if it is a 30 day termination notice that is to coincide with the end of the lease, then I would ask is June 6 the end of the lease. If not then the notice is defective and the landlord may then have to wait until July 1 for the notice even to be valid. Can you call our hotline at 773-292-4988 and say that you would like to speak with an eviction prevention specialist.

    1. An attorney may be able to challenge a flat out ban. For instance if a tenant has a disability and has someone coming to assist them, it may be illegal to ban this person. There are a lot of issues around this and it general abiding by such a request would be a good thing. Have you asked the landlord about your specific needs?

  5. My landlord refuse to incease the cleaning on our apartment building which leaves the common areas very dirty for a week at a time. I reached out to him to see if he can increase the cleaning but he refuse. What should i do?

    1. There is not an easy answer to this question. The law states that the landlord must maintain the building so that it complies with all city and state codes. I do not think that the Mayor or the City of Chicago have instituted any new laws which would require a landlord to take extra precautions during the COVID-19 crisis. The Chicago Ordinance requires landlord to maintain all common areas in fit a habitable condition. Fit and habitable is pretty vague wording so it is hard to say how that would be interpreted by a judge. Suggestions would be to begin with photos of the common areas and send them to the owner and management company. You could also send the photos to your alderman asking for assistance. I would see if other tenants have the same concerns as you and would be willing to sign a petition to the owner. Group pressure may help to get results. The petition could be online.

  6. Was told by management that my utilities allowance has decreased. Rent has been increased from 627.00 to 685.00. how can this be? Has HUD put a freeze on utilities allowance due to convid-19 situation. I’ve been thru this before where they overcharged me for rent and I had credit. Please advise.

    1. I have not heard of HUD putting a freeze on utilities. What building is this? Have you contacted the local HUD office? You can call our hotline and counselors could help you out.

  7. Laid off without intil my job re open. Cant pay my may rent landlord says my lease up so he dont have to evict me because my lease is up. Do he still need to go threw the courts or just kick me out

    1. Dear Kenneth, Sorry to hear that you lost your job. The landlord can terminate your but has to give you a written notice at least 30 days prior to the lease ending. Yes he needs to take you to court if you stay beyond the termination date. Currently the Cook County Courts are closed until at least May 17. The landlord will not be able to do much until after that.

  8. Hello – I am the owner of a 2-flat which will have an apartment available June 1st – so I am advertising it now. I want to make sure that I am following the law. The IDCEO & IDFPR both advised Licensed Real Estate Agents to suspend showings of occupied spaces. Does this also apply to private owners of small buildings? I hope to be able to do video showings, but I wanted to make sure that I am legally prohibited from a physical showing. I have asked several real estate agents and looked at the Chicago Realtor website but no one actually knows & the website does not address the issue. Thank you!

  9. There are no managers or security on the premises at 1333 &1343 N. Cleveland LLC is the management Corporation.

    1. Does your lease state whether the landlord has to provide security or have an official on site. I am guessing this may be because of the Coronavirus. Your manager or security personnel may have health issues that prevent them for working. The law does not require either. If the lease says it will be provided than the owner needs to continue to follow the lease unless it contradicts a state or federal law. The Governors stay at home owner may prevent some people from going to work. Have the owners informed everyone about what to do regarding the changes? A letter to the owners would be a good place to start inquiring about the situation, what you can expect and if there will be any rent discount for not providing the services.

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