Illinois Courts’ Response to COVID-19

Keith Levy    February 2, 2021

In February of 2020 Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an order mandating a statewide moratorium on residential evictions. The order was initially set to expire on September 19, 2020. However, the governor has been continuing it every 30 days. Most recently on January 9, 2021, the expiration date was extended to February 6, 2021.

In November of 2020 the statewide moratorium was modified to provide guidelines allowing certain eviction matters to proceed. Governor Pritzker set forth guidelines outlining protected groups based on the occupant’s financial situation. If an occupant makes more than $99,000 individually or $198,000 jointly the eviction can proceed. Additionally, the Plaintiff is required to send residents a COVID declaration that contains the “[Form] Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury for State of Illinois Executive Order 2020-72.” This form requires that occupants certify, under penalty of perjury, that they fit within the protected group. The form is available online. A separate notice is to go to each person living at the property and an additional notice to “Residents or Tenants of [Property Address].”

Throughout 2020 foreclosure proceedings were not impacted by statewide mandates. Instead, counties implemented local court restrictions. Many courts briefly closed in order to put COVID-safe practices into place. However, Cook County remained closed until mid-November. When the governor initially issued the statewide eviction moratorium, Cook County interpreted it as not only applying to residential evictions, but to foreclosure actions as well. As a result, all foreclosure actions remained on hold until the Court reopened. On November 20, 2020 the Court issued General Administrative Order 2020-13 (Amended) allowing certain foreclosure cases to proceed to judgment, but not sale or order approving sale. The Court is following the governor’s guidelines for allowing evictions to proceed and applying the guidelines of who is a protected group to foreclosures. Additionally, the Court requires that the Plaintiff send the notices required by the governor’s eviction guidelines.

For cases pending in Cook County, the Plaintiff must wait 30 days from the date the notice was sent before proceeding. For newly filed cases, Plaintiff must send the notice within 7 days of service or within 30 days of filing the complaint, whichever is sooner. Plaintiff must file an affidavit of compliance within 7 days of the expiration of the 30-day period. The affidavit must contain proof that the notice was sent in compliance with the GAO and attach any response from the defendant (redacted).

If a resident returns a Form Declaration attesting that he or she is a Covered Person, the court shall stay the proceedings until further order of court and set the matter for further status.

tags: foreclosure, Illinois


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