COVID-19: COVID Rental Assistance

COVID-19: Information for Renters

Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Programs and other resources for tenants affected by COVID-19.

 

 

 

COVID-19 Rent & Utility Assistance Programs

CPAH is helping to administer two different COVID-19 rent and utility assistance programs as follows:

     1. Lake County Federal Emergency Rental Assistance (FERA): This program offers up to 12 months of rent and utility assistance for eligible Lake County renters who were financially impacted by COVID-19 and earn less than the income limits posted below. Tenants or landlords may initiate the application. Applications are processed and payments are issued to landlords and utility companies on an ongoing, first-come, first-served basis. Program details and the application are available at www.LakeCountyIL.gov/RentHelp . Within the application, you may select CPAH as the agency to help you process your application.

     2. Illinois Rental Payment Program (IRPP): This program offers up to 15 months of rent assistance (no utility assistance) up to a maximum of $25,000 to Illinois renters who were financially impacted by COVID-19 and earn less than the income limits posted below. The program has two phases: (1) a landlord phase and (2) a tenant phase. The landlord phase (open May 17, 2021 through June 6, 2021) gives landlords the opportunity to initiate applications on behalf of tenants who have past-due rents. The tenant phase, expected to open for a limited time in mid-June, will give tenants the opportunity to initiate applications. The landlord must agree to waive all fees and penalties. It is expected that the Illinois Housing Development Authority will process applications within approximately 60-90 days. Program details and the application are available at: https://ilrpp.ihda.org. CPAH is here to help landlords and tenants apply.

If you need help submitting your application, need access to computer equipment, are unsure which program may be better for you, or if you have any other questions, please contact our Emergency Assistance Coordinator, Toni Martinez, at tmartinez@cpahousing.org or by calling 847-263-7478 ext 30.

Program Income Limits

Household Size
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
80% AMI
$51,000
$58,250
$65,550
$72,800
$78,6500
$84,450
$90,300
$96,100

How to Submit Required Documentation

Required documentation can be submitted directly through the application portal(s) above. You may also submit documentation by email, fax, mail and/or drop-off to our main office. If you submit your documentation via email, we strongly encourage you to submit your application through our Secure Message Center. Registration is free and takes less than a minute. Once registered, you can use the system to send encrypted information and emails to CPAH staff, which is a much safer way to electronically send personal information.

 


Eviction Protections

Different jurisdictions have different tenant protections. Below are the key protections in our area:

  • Gubernatorial Executive Order 2020-72 extended the Illinois Eviction Moratorium through May 29, 2021. The Executive Order requires tenants to declare their eligibility in order to be covered by the moratorium. See these links for Frequently Asked Questions and the required Declaration Form that must be submitted to your landlord in order to be protected under the eviction moratorium.
  • The Lake County Sheriff’s office indicated that it will not enforce eviction notices “until further notice.”
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has ordered the suspension of evictions for nonpayment of rent, fees, and other charges until June 30, 2021. The order applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent. Tenants facing evictions for nonpayment of rent must make below a certain income and meet other factors set out by the CDC. Unlike other COVID-related eviction bans, the protections under the CDC moratorium are not automatic. Tenants must fill out a declaration certifying that they meet certain eligibility requirements and give it to their landlord. Details and the required declaration are available here.
  • On January 21, 2021, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2021-03, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in Connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency. The letter directed agencies to extend a federal moratorium on evictions and a moratorium on foreclosures for single family properties with FHA-insured mortgages through March 31, 2021. The moratorium applies to all FHA Title II Single Family forward mortgages and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), except for those secured by vacant or abandoned properties.
  • The Federal “CARES Act” prohibited landlords who have a federally backed mortgage and landlords participating in most federal housing programs from filing evictions for non-payment of rent until July 25, 2020 and prohibited late fees through that period; after that a 30-day notice is required for evictions. Although not a comprehensive list, tenants can search the three databases below to help determine whether their apartment was subject to the CARES Act eviction moratorium. The below tools list properties that have 5 or more units. If you rent a home or apartment in a building with less than 5 units or you don’t find your apartment in any of the databases, you can also try asking your landlord whether they are subject to the CARES Act.

Please note that none of these protections remove a renter’s financial obligation to their landlord. If you can pay your rent, you should. Beware that not all of these protections prevent your landlord from filing an eviction case against you. Even if your landlord can’t enforce an eviction against you, a filed eviction could stay on your record for years and make it more difficult to find housing in the future. If your landlord does file an eviction case against you during the COVID-19 crisis, you are encouraged to get legal help.

It is illegal for landlords to force or pressure tenants to leave without going through the eviction process. Landlords are not legally allowed to change locks, remove doors or windows, turn off utilities, or remove tenant belongings without going through the formal legal eviction process.


Tips for Renters

  • Slides from CPAH’s April 29, 2020 “Information for Renters” Presentation.
  • Landlords cannot show your apartment during the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation period.
  • If your income decreased as a result of COVID-19 and you currently receive a housing voucher or project-based housing subsidy, contact the program administrator right away to request an interim income re-certification to lower your rent contribution. Here is a sample letter requesting an interim re certification.
  • Contact your landlord early and often if you know that you will have trouble paying rent due to COVID-19. Here is a sample letter. Keep all communication with your landlord in writing whenever possible, especially any agreement to reduce or defer rent because of COVID-19.
  • Avoid cash payments without receipts.
  • Develop a realistic budget and attempt to develop a repayment plan with your landlord. CPAH’s HUD-Certified Housing Counselors offers free financial counseling and can help you with “Crisis Budgeting.”
  • When speaking with your landlord, utility companies and other lenders, consider asking the following questions:
    • When will you expect me to repay my missed payments?
    • Are payment plans available?
    • What fines and fees will I be subject to?
    • Will my outstanding balance accrue interest?
  • The Illinois Commerce Commission ordered that no utilities (gas, electricity, water and sewage) nor threats of shut-off are allowed during the period covered by the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation period.
  • If you’ve lost employment income, you can file for unemployment benefits at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)