Illinois eviction moratorium ends soon, a non-profit ready to help

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CREVE COUR, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois residents have about 18 days to get a plan together if they haven’t been paying their rent.

It’s been 12 months since Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker put a stop to evictions. CARPLS Legal Aid Services predicts 500,000 to 800,000 Illinoisans will be evicted once the state moratorium is lifted on April 3.

Rachel Hodel is an apartment manager for McCraw Rentals. She manages seven properties in Creve Cour. Among her 12 tenants, some have missed payments or stopped paying completely.

Hodel said McCraw Rentals is a family business. She said she’s lost more than $20,000 using her personal income to cover her tenant’s bills.

“When tenants don’t pay their rent we still have to pay the utilities, the mortgages the real estate taxes, everything,” Hodel said.

She told WMBD when the ban is finally lifted she will take one person to court.

A non-profit, COVID Help Illinois was publicly launched on November 30. It helps Illinois residents having COVID-related legal problems.

CovidHelpIllinois.org has helped more than 2,000 Illinoisans. About 230 people were from central Illinois counties, including Peoria, Tazewell, Fulton, and McLean.

The Director of CARPLS Legal Aid, Pat Wrona helps manage COVID Help Illinois. She said the organization will help tenants know their rights, with the possibility of free legal representation.

“In Illinois, no one can kick you out, only the sheriff can put you out of your apartment after a judgment of order possession has been entered against you,” Wrona said.

Hobel said she isn’t looking to put people on the streets. She said most landlords will work with you if you try.

The spokesperson for COVID Help Illinois said there are only 450 legal aids in Illinois, so they can’t guarantee you a free lawyer.

Wrona said evictions are not instantaneous, and it could take weeks before an officer knocks on your door to force you to leave.

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