Illinois Supreme Court Amendments to Order M.R. 30370

    On July 15 and 29, 2021, the Illinois Supreme Court amended Order M.R. 30370 concerning residential evictions in anticipation of the surge in filings that was expected when the Governor’s eviction moratorium expired on August 1, 2021. These amendments provide for a one-month triage period in which the judiciary will focus on referring newly filed eviction cases to programs designed to help avoid eviction and directing landlords and tenants to State and local resources that may be of assistance to them. Cook County has already been doing this with the implementation of the Early Resolution Program, and we anticipate that other counties will follow suit with similar programs.

    Beginning August 1, 2021, and ending September 1, 2021, all dispositive motions, trials on the merits, or judgments in residential eviction proceedings against a “Covered Person” (a person who has returned a form declaration stating that COVID-19 has impacted their ability to pay rent) are stayed, unless the person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property. Initial return dates and statuses will continue throughout this period. Additionally, where a defendant has been served but fails to appear on the return date, a motion for default will only be heard after the defendant is given notice to appear at a separate hearing on a motion for default.

    Newly filed cases shall be exempt from this temporary stay, however, if the eviction complaint is accompanied by a certification form demonstrating that the plaintiff provided each tenant with the Illinois Housing Development Authority form declaration and has not received a signed declaration from any tenant stating that they are a “Covered Person,” or one of the following exceptions applies: (i) the defendant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants; (ii) the defendant poses an immediate and severe risk to property; or (iii) the property at issue is non-residential.

The following changes, updates, and clarifications should be noted as they pertain to evictions in Illinois:

• As of August 1, 2021, an eviction action against a “Covered Person” may be filed, but the Sheriff may not enforce any eviction order for a residential premise entered against a “Covered Person” through at least August 21, 2021, unless that person has been found to pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property. This August 21, 2021, date could continue to be extended.
• In Cook County, the stay placed on cases where a defendant returned the form declaration will continue until further notice.
• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their moratorium on single-family REO evictions through September 30, 2021.
• The Federal Housing Administration extended its moratorium on evictions for foreclosed borrowers and occupants through September 30, 2021.

    With the post-pandemic eviction landscape continuing to evolve, our firm is dedicated to staying up to date on all changes. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns, or to further discuss the impact of the amendments to Order M.R. 30370 or the Governor’s Executive Orders.