COLES COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Many landlords are facing unsettling situations as more people are not paying rent during the pandemic. But some landlords said there could be devastating consequences if this continues for much longer.
The state’s eviction moratorium is stretching into month seven. By law, renters are protected from being kicked out of their homes through October 17.
One landlord said he is willing to work with renters when they have life traumas like losing a job or they have emergency bills. While he said the majority of renters pay on time, his concern is with people who are taking advantage of not having to pay rent.
Bill Standerfer with Coles County Landlord Association owns several rental properties. He is familiar with the routine of people not paying rent. “I can tell you in 41 years of being a landlord, once a tenant is $1,000 or more behind, they never catch up,” said Standerfer. “They pack up in the night and move.”
Governor Pritzker extended the eviction moratorium by another month to give renters a break if they cannot pay rent. “We don’t want mass homelessness and that’s what would occur if you simply remove the moratorium on evictions entirely,” stated the governor. While Standerfer understands the intent behind this, he said there is another perspective to consider.
“Some tenants have decided they don’t need to pay their rent,” he said. “We have a couple of tenants who are abusing it. We know their income has not changed.” This is leaving the landlords stuck footing the bills. “Who is still responsible for property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities–in many cases– and probably loans on his property. All of that still has to be paid.”
He is concerned this is just delaying severe consequences for both renters and landlords. “Once this is lifted, there will be a flood of evictions, a flood of them. And how is that good? I mean, I’m not gonna let people stay in our properties and not pay rent indefinitely. I can’t do it.”
At the beginning of this month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also issued a temporary eviction moratorium for renters through the end of this year. This order extends to all renters who have applied for government assistance, have lost income because of the pandemic or would be homeless if evicted.