Housing group says landlords have lost $1 billion during pandemic


An Illinois housing provider association wants more accountability from tenants who aren't paying rent.

The Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance is asking lawmakers to require that renters who do not apply for rental assistance start paying again or explain in court why they can’t pay.

Research by the NBOA found housing providers have lost over $1 billion in unpaid rent since the beginning of the pandemic.

“How would you like to live in a building where you are paying rent but the housing provider can’t fix the leaky roof or repair a broken door, simply because they don’t have the funds that they need to maintain their properties,” said Clint Sabin, spokesman for the NBOA.

The NBOA is recommending that renters who have applied for rental assistance should continue to receive the protections of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s eviction moratorium. Those who do not submit an application should not be “shielded from a legal process which typically affords them months during which time they can negotiate a settlement or explain their circumstances in court.”

About 300,000 applicants have sought pandemic rent assistance thus far in Illinois. An estimated 15% of Illinois tenants reported they were behind on their rent payments from May 26 through June 7, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey.

“We want to continue working with our renters who are trying and doing what they can to be part of the solution,” said Michael Glasser, president of NBOA. “Those renters who do not even take a few minutes to apply for assistance should either start paying rent again or show up in court to explain to a judge why they can’t. It’s not fair to their neighbors who have to continue to pay rent throughout the year.”

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined with 22 other attorneys general on an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court asking to reinstate the federal eviction moratorium.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to end the federal government’s temporary ban on evictions, which is now scheduled to expire at the end of the month. The high court ruled 5-4. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that he thought the ban was illegal, but he noted that it is scheduled to expire soon.

“We haven’t asked grocery stores to give away free food, or pharmacies to give away free medication, and we can’t keep asking housing providers to give away free housing without destabilizing the housing system, which was already fragile before the pandemic,” Glasser said.

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