COVID-19

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Do Not Sign a COVID-19 Waiver

If you have received a COVID-19 “Economic Impact Payment” direct deposit or check by mistake, DO NOT KEEP IT. This would be tax fraud, which is a felony, and could result in deportation/removal from the U.S. and exclusion from the U.S. permanently.

Please read the information sheet about what to do (pdf). If have further questions, fill out and submit an intake form, and schedule an appointment.

Student Legal Services (SLS) is, first and foremost a service unit, and we do not take our responsibility to you lightly. Due to recent events related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are trying to balance this responsibility with the recommendation from the university that almost all in-person meetings be moved to an alternate solution.

SLS will be closed to foot traffic until further notice but we will still remain open online and via phone to serve our university community during our regular business hours.

Phone appointments are available to students and HIPAA version Zoom appointments are available as well. We will continue to communicate any updates via e-mail.

The Champaign County Courthouse is still open as of November 17, 2020, but this could change at any time. Illinois Governor, J. B. Pritzker regularly issues updates to the open/closed status of geographical areas of the state; these are reported through local news media.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be a short-term, temporary shift in how we operate, and we remain ready to serve our clientele to the best of our abilities. If you have any questions, please contact studentlegalservice@illinois.edu or call (217) 333-9053.

Thomas E. Betz, Directing Attorney

According to Illinois Governor, J. B. Pritzker’s Executive Order

2020-72:

As of November 13, 2020, your Landlord can proceed in a residential eviction UNLESS you are considered a "Covered Person".

A "Covered Person" is any tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident of a residential property that:

  1. Either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), or (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment pursuant to Section 2001 of the CARES Act; AND
  2. the individual is unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a COVID-19 related hardship including, but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic; AND
  3. the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other Non-Discretionary Expenses; AND
  4. eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.

However, a landlord can commence a residential eviction action against a Covered Person if they pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.

The Covered Person must make a Declaration under penalty of perjury indicating such. See the attached declaration (pdf).

*** Your landlord MUST provide this declaration to you before commencing an eviction including before the issuance of a notice to terminate the tenancy. ***

COVID-19 DOES NOT END YOUR LEASE

Leases and COVID-19 (pdf)

  • A lease is a binding contract for both the landlord and tenant.
  • As long as the landlord is providing habitable housing, the tenant must pay rent.
  • You will still owe all rent due for the remainder of the lease period, whether you are living in the unit or not.
  • Not paying your rent will lead to a 5-day notice demanding payment. Failure to pay in five days will lead to the right of landlord to demand possession in court.
  • In Champaign County, the sheriff is not serving civil process/eviction summons to court while the courthouse is closed. The court will reopen!
  • Interest will accumulate for late and unpaid rent along with court costs and attorney fees.
  • There are some landlords that will turn your nonpayment of rent over to collection agencies and credit agencies, which may destroy your credit rating.
  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Exe. Order 2020-10 has placed a moratorium on evictions under the “Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation” and is in effect until the proclamation is withdrawn. However, you are still obligated to pay rent and perform any other obligations under the lease. The landlord can still issue a 5-day notice if you fail to meet your obligations and seek an eviction once the courts have re-opened.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – Renter Protections

  • If you are renting from a landlord who has a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions.
  • You cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020 and ending July 25, 2020.
  • After the 120-day period is up, the landlord cannot require you, the tenant, to vacate until providing you with a thirty-day notice to vacate.

Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network

  • If you’re a tenant in a multifamily rental property financed by Fannie Mae, your landlord can seek assistance through the Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network.
  • Your landlord can seek forbearance, late fee relief, and repayment options on the property.
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