The Federal CARES Act and Evictions
FAQ’s for Judges, Landlords, and Tenants in Cook County, Illinois
Q: What is the CARES Act?
A: On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act took effect. Section 4024 of the Act provides renters with temporary relief from certain evictions and from the imposition of late fees.
Q: Who is covered by the CARES Act rental protections?
A: The CARES Act protects tenants who:
- Live in units owned by public housing authorities like CHA or HACC;
- Receive rental assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher program (often called “Section 8”);
- Live in properties that receive rental subsidies from HUD, the Treasury Department (LIHTC), or USDA; or
- Live in properties with federally backed mortgages (Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, etc.)
Q: What protections does the CARES Act provide?
A: The Act imposes a moratorium of 120 days (ending on July 25, 2020) on certain actions by landlords. During the moratorium, any landlord who is covered by the Act may not:
- File an action seeking to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent
- Impose late fees that accrue during the 120-day eviction moratorium
- Issue a notice to vacate. Any notice issued after the moratorium ends must also give the tenant 30 days to move.
Q: Must tenants still pay rent during the moratorium against evictions?
A: Yes, unless they have a legal reason to withhold some or all of their rent.
Q: Is there help for tenants who cannot afford rent because of COVID-19?
A: Homelessness Prevention Funds are available for tenants in the City of Chicago and Suburban Cook County. In the City of Chicago, tenants can call 311. In Suburban Cook County, tenants can call 877-426-6515.
A: Tenants who receive an income-based rental subsidy should contact their landlord / housing authority right away to adjust their rental portion if their income has changed.
A: Tenants in need of legal help can contact the following organizations:
(Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing)
Text “hi” to 866-7RENTER
Illinois Legal Aid Online