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Cook County real estate attorney for COVID-19 landlord reliefFor more than a year, people and businesses throughout the United States have been struggling to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has placed many landlords in a difficult position, since residential tenants who have lost their jobs or commercial tenants who have experienced a loss of revenue may be unable to pay rent. At the same time, federal, state, and local governments have placed a moratorium on evictions to protect the health and safety of tenants. In many cases, this has left landlords with few options, since the standard ways of dealing with non-paying tenants are unavailable. Fortunately, multiple relief programs may provide assistance for landlords, ensuring that they can cover their ongoing expenses.

Emergency COVID-19 Relief

The federal government has created the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to make funds available for those who have been unable to pay rent or utilities. A household can qualify for relief if they meet the eligibility criteria. These include a reduction in income or other financial hardship because of COVID-19, a risk that a person or family will experience homelessness or housing instability, and a household income that is at or below 80% of the median income in the area.

A household can receive up to 12 months of rental assistance, and this may be extended for an additional three months if necessary. At least 90% of any funds awarded must be used to pay housing-related expenses, including ongoing rent payments and rent that is past due, utilities, and home energy costs. Landlords can apply for relief on behalf of tenants, and funds awarded may be paid directly to a landlord.

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Cook County real esate attorney lease modification

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has affected many individuals, families, and businesses, and it has caused financial struggles for both landlords and tenants. Some residential tenants have experienced job losses, and many businesses have been required to close or scale back their operations. When residential or commercial tenants are unable to pay rent, this can put landlords in a difficult position, since they may be unable to meet their own financial obligations. 

Typically, landlords are able to pursue evictions when tenants do not meet their rent requirements or otherwise violate the terms of a lease. However, the state of Illinois has placed a moratorium on evictions, and this prohibition has been repeatedly extended as the pandemic continues to affect people throughout the state. Most recently, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order extending this moratorium through January 9, 2021, and additional extensions may be made if they are determined to be necessary. For landlords who are currently unable to evict tenants who have not paid rent, other options may be available, including making lease modifications that can provide protections and benefits for both landlords and tenants.

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