Chicago rent, mortgage payments missed due to unemployment could lead to post-COVID housing crisis, some worry

Liz Nagy Image
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
1st of the month is here again, leaving renters and landlords scrambling
The first of the month is here again and while some renters try to find ways to pay the rent, their landlords are also facing tens of thousands of dollars in debt from months of no

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The first of the month is here again for the ninth time since the start of the pandemic, and millions of people are still unable to make an all-important living payment.

"It's just one more month deeper in the hole that thousands and thousands of tenants across the state now are in, and it's not letting up," said Michael Robin, volunteer at the Chicago Tenants Movement.

RELATED: CDC eviction moratorium relieves renters, but Chicago landlords still worried

The pandemic has chewed deep holes in the pockets of once-hardworking Americans, and they fear this day every month.

"I am down to my bottom dollar," Robin said. "I'm actually $200 in overdraft and if I don't hear from IDES in the next four days I'll have missed my rent."

A statewide ban on evictions signed and extended by Governor JB Pritzker forbids landlords from tossing tenants out of their homes and into the freezing cold. But without rent checks, that puts the penalty on the landlords.

RELATED: Landlords claim tenants are taking advantage of COVID-19 eviction moratorium order; renters rights advocates fight back

Landlords said they can't get their tenants to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic while Illinois has a moratorium on evictions, and they're being taken advantage of.

"I got the mortgage, the payment of taxes, and having to deal with someone telling me they ain't paying me," said Keyth Dickerson, Chicago landlord. "Right now they're buying Christmas presents and they haven't paid in five, six, seven months."

Dickerson said he's fronting the money for the half a dozen South Side properties he owns, and is now $20,000 in the hole himself.

"I think that we need to advocate for the landlords because what we know is the unintended consequences of a moratorium of evictions will be foreclosures," said Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-IL 8th District). "And foreclosures will have a drastic impact, negative impact on the economy and communities."

Ford said when the pandemic gives way there's going to be a deep, unintended housing crisis spread far and wide.