Ald. Matt Martin (47th) introduced legislation that would give Chicago renters who lost income during the COVID-19 outbreak a 12-month grace period to pay rent. Specifically, the ordinance would allow tenants a 12 month grace period following the date at which a stay at home order is rescinded to pay past due rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent during the stay at home order due to circumstances related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including:

1. Loss of income due to a COVID-19 related workplace closure.

2. Increased or additional child care expenditures due to school closures or changed work schedules.

3. Healthcare and other expenses related to being ill with COVID-19 or caring for a member of the tenant’s household or family who is ill with COVID-19.

4. Reasonable expenditures that stem from government-ordered emergency measures.

Critics of the rent abatement proposal argue that the ordinance will destroy what remains of privately owned low-income affordable housing, it would increase the homeless population, it does not adequately explain what would substitute for rent, it does not adequately protect property owners who will be unable to pay their mortgage/property taxes/utility fees without proper rent payments, and it will lead to a massive decline in the collection of property taxes, water fees, sewer fees and other revenue.

Think this ordinance is good for City of Chicago residents? Decide for yourself, and read the full text here.

What about landlords and property owners who need rent to pay for their mortgage, taxes, insurance and/or utility bills? Alderman Martin proposed another ordinance asking Governor Pritzker to enact payment deferrments for mortgage holders, citing to actions taken by California Governor Gavin Newsom and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The proposed ordinance calls upon Governor Pritzker to help secure a commitment from all significant non-commercial lenders and servicers of residential mortgages in the City of Chicago to:

1. Offer at least 90 days of mortgage forbearance to all borrowers that have lost income due to COVID-19 and wherever possible, offer payment plans that avoid a single “balloon” payment due at the end of the forbearance term.

2. Waive or refund mortgage-related late fees for at least 90 days.

3. Forego reporting the occurrence of late payments to credit-reporting agencies for borrowers that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Read this proposed ordinance here.

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