State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 2/25/2021, by Sen. Omar Aquino


New Act
735 ILCS 5/9-121
735 ILCS 5/9-121.5 new
735 ILCS 5/9-122 new
735 ILCS 5/15-1513 new
735 ILCS 5/15-1514 new
815 ILCS 505/2Z.5 new

    Creates the COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act. Contains provisions for: the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program; accessibility and transparency; process for further prioritizing applicants for financial assistance and housing stability services; and required notifications and correspondence. Amends the Code of Civil Procedure. Makes changes concerning the sealing of court files. Provides that certain new provisions concerning sealing of court files in a residential eviction action apply until August 1, 2022. Contains provisions for: the sealing of a court file in a residential eviction action; emergency sealing of a court file in a residential eviction action during the COVID-19 emergency and economic recovery period; and a temporary COVID-19 stay of certain foreclosure proceedings and filings. Makes corresponding changes to a provision regarding demand for rent and eviction actions. Makes corresponding changes in the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Effective immediately.

LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b






SB0668LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1    AN ACT concerning civil law.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
Article 5.

5    Section 5-1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
6COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act.
7    Section 5-5. Purposes and findings. The purpose of this
8Act is for the State to implement federal Coronavirus Relief
9Fund (CRF) assistance to renters administered by the U.S.
10Department of the Treasury, appropriated from the Consolidated
11Appropriations Act, 2021.
12    International, national, State, and local governments and
13health authorities are responding to an outbreak of a disease
14caused by the novel Coronavirus referred to as COVID-19.
15African American and Latino households in the State are at
16disproportionate risk of exposure to and the contraction of
17COVID-19 and to economic effects of this pandemic.
18    On March 9, 2020, the Governor issued a disaster
19declaration proclamation in this State because of the threat
20of COVID-19.
21    On March 26, 2020, the President of the United States
22declared that a major disaster exists in the State and ordered



SB0668- 2 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local
2recovery efforts in the areas affected by the COVID-19
3pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020 and continuing.
4    Unpaid rent, late fees, and court costs are currently
5accruing against residential tenants and will be demanded by
6landlords after the expiration of the emergency period.
7    To reduce the rental arrears throughout this State, all
8eligible residential landlords and tenants alike shall avail
9themselves of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
10    The State deems it necessary to protect public health,
11life, and property during this declared state of emergency by
12protecting residential tenants, homeowners, and housing
13providers from certain evictions and other hardships during
14this public health and economic crisis.
15    Section 5-10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
16    "Administering State agency" means any agency or
17department of the State that is eligible to receive a direct
18federal allocation of federal Emergency Rental Assistance
19funds that will disburse and administer the Federal Emergency
20Rental Assistance Program.
21    "Applicant" or "program applicant" means any person or
22entity who is a residential tenant or lessee or landlord or
23lessor that has submitted an application, individually or
24jointly, to receive federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds.
25    "Eligible household" has the same meaning as used by the



SB0668- 3 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1federal law enacting the federal Emergency Rental Assistance
3    "Program" means the federal Emergency Rental Assistance
5    "Recipient" or "program recipient" means any person or
6entity that is a residential tenant or lessee, landlord or
7lessor, or utility provider that had a successful application,
8in that the administering State agency disbursed funds either:
9(i) on behalf of a residential tenant directly to the landlord
10or utility provider; or (ii) directly to the residential
12    Section 5-15. Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program.
13    (a) Any department or agency of the State eligible to
14receive a direct federal allocation and charged with
15disbursing allocated funds and administering the federal
16program shall do so in accordance with federal and State law.
17    (b) Consistent with federal law, any State agency
18administering this program shall create a process to provide
19rental assistance directly to eligible renters and to obviate
20or minimize the necessity of lessor or utility provider
21participation in submitting the application when the lessor or
22utility provider: (i) refuses to accept a direct payment; or
23(ii) fails to complete an application for assistance. The
24administering State agency shall make payments to a lessor or
25utility provider on behalf of an eligible household with a



SB0668- 4 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1statement indicating which eligible household the payment is
2being made for, except that, if the lessor or utility provider
3does not agree to accept such a payment from the administering
4State agency after the administering State agency has made
5contact with the lessor or utility provider, then the
6administering State agency may make such payments directly to
7the eligible household for the purpose of the eligible
8household making payments to the lessor or utility provider.
9Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this Act shall be
10construed to require a lessor or utility provider to accept
11funds from the program, whether paid directly by the
12administering State agency or by the eligible household.
13    (c) Consistent with federal law, any State agency
14administering this program shall provide program recipients
15with relief payments in an amount based on stated need rather
16than on a flat or fixed amount. An eligible household's stated
17need may include, but is not limited to, the amount of arrears
18owed to a lessor, utility provider, or both, or future rental
19payments based on monthly rent.
20    (d) Consistent with federal law, nothing in this Act shall
21be construed as precluding any administering State agency from
22capping or setting a limit on the amount of emergency rental
23payments made on behalf of any single household. The
24administering State agency may adopt additional eligibility
25criteria, application procedures, and program rules necessary
26to administer the program in conformity with the priorities



SB0668- 5 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1and public policies expressed within this Act and federal law,
2as it may be amended.
3    (e) Consistent with federal law prohibiting duplicative
4payments from other federal programs, an administering State
5agency shall not disqualify an eligible household from the
6program based on previous application for or receipt of other
7similar federal assistance for periods that are different than
8that for which the program assistance is being provided under
9this Act.
10    (f) Unless necessary to comply with applicable federal or
11State law, the administering State agency shall not, for
12purposes of determining program eligibility, require a fully
13executed written lease or any type of documentation relating
14to any household member's immigration status. The
15administering State agency may accept a demand for rent
16letter, ledger or statement containing the outstanding
17balance, termination notice, or other alternative form of
18documentation containing or showing the amount of rental or
19utility arrears owed.
20    Section 5-20. Accessibility and transparency.
21    (a) In addition to federal requirements, the administering
22State agency shall make publicly accessible by publishing on
23its website any important program information, including, but
24not limited to, the following:
25        (1) program application forms for households, lessors,



SB0668- 6 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1    and utility providers, including any joint program
2    application forms;
3        (2) program eligibility requirements;
4        (3) the administering State agency's procedures and
5    processes for administering the program;
6        (4) the administering State agency's procedures and
7    communication methods for notifying program applicants of
8    defective applications due to incompletion, errors,
9    missing information, or any other impediment;
10        (5) the administering State agency's procedures and
11    methods for applicants to remedy defective applications
12    due to incompletion, errors, missing information, or any
13    other impediment; and
14        (6) any other important program information critical
15    to applicants, including renters and lessors relating to
16    the application requirements and process, eligibility
17    determination, and disbursement of payment.
18    (b) The administering State agency shall ensure that
19important program information, including the application and
20all marketing materials, is language accessible by publishing
21to its website the same in both English and Spanish.
22    Section 5-25. Process for further prioritizing applicants
23for financial assistance and housing stability services. In
24addition to federal program eligibility and prioritization
25requirements, the administering State agency shall make best



SB0668- 7 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1efforts to give further prioritization to an eligible
2household: (i) located within a disproportionately impacted
3area based on positive COVID-19 cases; (ii) that has a
4documented history of housing instability or homelessness; or
5(iii) that has a significant amount of rental arrears.
6    Section 5-30. Required notifications and correspondence.
7The administering State agency shall ensure it communicates
8clearly with an applicant about the application determination
9process, including acceptance, status of a pending
10application, and any reason for denying an application.
11        (1) The administering State agency shall provide
12    notice to an applicant upon finding that a submitted
13    application is defective or should otherwise be considered
14    ineligible, denied, or rejected.
15        (2) The notice from the administering State agency
16    shall explain the reason why an applicant's submitted
17    application is defective or should otherwise be considered
18    ineligible, denied, or rejected.
19        (3) The notice shall contain the necessary
20    information, process, accepted method, and deadline for
21    the applicant to remedy any defective or deficient
22    application, provided that remedy is possible.
23        (4) All notice and correspondence required to be
24    provided by the administering State agency shall be given
25    promptly and without unnecessary delay to any applicant.



SB0668- 8 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

Article 10.

2    Section 10-5. The Code of Civil Procedure is amended by
3changing Section 9-121 and by adding Sections 9-121.5, 9-122,
415-1513, and 15-1514 as follows:
5    (735 ILCS 5/9-121)
6    Sec. 9-121. Sealing of court file.
7    (a) Definition. As used in this Section, "court file"
8means the court file created when an eviction action is filed
9with the court.
10    (b) Discretionary sealing of court file. The court may
11order that a court file in an eviction action be placed under
12seal if the court finds that the plaintiff's action is
13sufficiently without a basis in fact or law, which may include
14a lack of jurisdiction, that placing the court file under seal
15is clearly in the interests of justice, and that those
16interests are not outweighed by the public's interest in
17knowing about the record.
18    (c) Mandatory sealing of court file. The court file
19relating to an eviction action brought against a tenant under
20Section 9-207.5 of this Code or as set forth in subdivision
21(h)(6) of Section 15-1701 of this Code shall be placed under
23    (d) This Section is operative on and after August 1, 2022.



SB0668- 9 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1(Source: P.A. 100-173, eff. 1-1-18.)
2    (735 ILCS 5/9-121.5 new)
3    Sec. 9-121.5. Sealing of court file.
4    (a) As used in this Section, "court file" means the court
5file created when an eviction action is filed with the court.
6    (b) The court shall order the sealing of any court file in
7a residential eviction action if:
8        (1) the interests of justice in sealing the court file
9    outweigh the public interest in maintaining a public
10    record;
11        (2) the parties to the eviction action agree to seal
12    the court file;
13        (3) there was no material violation of the terms of
14    the tenancy by the tenant; or
15        (4) the case was dismissed with or without prejudice.
16    (c) The court file relating to an eviction action brought
17against a tenant under Section 9-207.5 of this Code or as set
18forth in subdivision (h)(6) of Section 15-1701 of this Code
19shall be placed under seal.
20    (d) A sealed court file shall be made available only to the
21litigants in the case, their counsel or prospective counsel,
22and public employees responsible for processing the
23residential eviction action.
24    (e) Upon motion and order of the court, a sealed court file
25may be made available for scholarly, educational,



SB0668- 10 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1journalistic, or governmental purposes only, balancing the
2interests of the parties and the public in nondisclosure with
3the interests of the requesting party. Identifying information
4of the parties shall remain sealed, unless the court
5determines that release of the information is necessary to
6fulfill the purpose of the request and the interests of
7justice so dictate. Nothing in this subsection shall permit
8the release of a sealed court file or the information
9contained therein for a commercial purpose.
10    (f) Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), any
11person who disseminates a court file sealed under this
12Section, or the information contained therein, for commercial
13purposes shall be liable for a civil penalty of $2,000, or
14twice the actual and consequential damages sustained,
15whichever is greater, as well as the costs of the action,
16including reasonable attorney's fees.
17    (g) The Attorney General may enforce a violation of this
18Section as an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and
19Deceptive Business Practices Act. All remedies, penalties, and
20authority granted to the Attorney General by the Consumer
21Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act shall be available
22to him or her for the enforcement of this Section.
23    (h) Nothing in this Section prohibits a landlord from
24receiving a reference from a previous landlord of a
25prospective tenant. Nothing in this Section prohibits a
26landlord from providing a reference for a previous or current



SB0668- 11 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1tenant to a prospective landlord of that tenant.
2    (i) This Section is repealed on August 1, 2022.
3    (735 ILCS 5/9-122 new)
4    Sec. 9-122. COVID-19 emergency sealing of court file.
5    (a) As used in this Section, "COVID-19 emergency and
6economic recovery period" means the period beginning on March
79, 2020, when the Governor issued the first disaster
8proclamation for the State to address the circumstances
9related to COVID-19, and ending on March 31, 2022.
10    (b) The court file shall be sealed upon the commencement
11of any residential eviction action during the COVID-19
12emergency and economic recovery period. If a residential
13eviction action filed during the COVID-19 emergency and
14economic recovery period is pending on the effective date of
15this Act and is not sealed, the court shall order the sealing
16of the court file. In accordance with Section 9-121.5, no
17sealed court file, sealed under this Section, shall be
19    (c) If the court enters a judgment in favor of the
20landlord, the court may also enter an order to unseal the court
21file under this Section. A court shall order the court file to
22be unsealed if:
23        (1) the action is not based in whole or in part on the
24    nonpayment of rent during the COVID-19 emergency and
25    economic recovery period; and



SB0668- 12 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1        (2) The requirements of subsection (b) or (c) of
2    Section 9-121.5 have not been met.
3    (d) Subsections (d) through (h) of Section 9-121.5 shall
4also be applicable and incorporated into this Section.
5    (735 ILCS 5/15-1513 new)
6    Sec. 15-1513. Temporary COVID-19 stay of judicial sales,
7orders of possession.
8    (a) Notwithstanding Section 15-1507, no judicial
9foreclosure sale shall be held between the effective date of
10this Section and July 31, 2021. Any judicial foreclosure sale
11pending as of the effective date of this Section shall be
12cancelled and renoticed for a date after July 31, 2021.
13    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (g) of Section 15-1508, no
14order of possession pursuant to a confirmation of judicial
15foreclosure sale shall be entered by a court, placed with a
16sheriff for execution, or executed by a sheriff until a date
17after July 31, 2021.
18    (c) This Section applies to any action to foreclose a
19mortgage relating to (i) residential real estate as defined in
20Section 15-1219, and (ii) real estate improved with a dwelling
21structure containing dwelling units for 6 or fewer families
22living independently of each other in which the mortgagor is a
23natural person landlord renting the dwelling units, even if
24the mortgagor does not occupy any of the dwelling units as his
25or her personal residence.



SB0668- 13 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1    (735 ILCS 5/15-1514 new)
2    Sec. 15-1514. Temporary COVID-19 stay of certain
3foreclosure proceedings and filings.
4    (a) This Section applies to any action to foreclose a
5mortgage relating to (i) residential real estate as defined in
6Section 15-1219, and (ii) real estate improved with a dwelling
7structure containing dwelling units for 6 or fewer families
8living independently of each other in which the mortgagor is a
9natural person landlord renting the dwelling units, even if
10the mortgagor does not occupy any of the dwelling units as his
11or her personal residence.
12    (b) Any action to foreclose a mortgage pending on the
13effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General
14Assembly, including actions filed on or before March 9, 2020,
15or commenced within 30 days of the effective date of this
16amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, shall be stayed
17until May 1, 2021.
18    (c) No court shall accept for filing any action to
19foreclose a mortgage before May 1, 2021.
20    (d) All deadlines related to any pending foreclosure
21proceeding on the effective date of this Section, including
22the running of any redemption period, are tolled until May 1,
24    (e) If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, or
25part of this Section shall be adjudged by any court of



SB0668- 14 -LRB102 17168 LNS 22613 b

1competent jurisdiction to be invalid and after exhaustion of
2all further judicial review, the judgment shall not affect,
3impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be
4confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph,
5subsection, or part of this Section directly involved in the
6controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
7    Section 10-15. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
8Practices Act is amended by adding Section 2Z.5 as follows:
9    (815 ILCS 505/2Z.5 new)
10    Sec. 2Z.5. Dissemination of a sealed a court file.
11    (a) A private entity or person who violates Section
129-121.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure commits an unlawful
13practice within the meaning of this Act.
14    (b) This Section is repealed on August 1, 2022.
Article 99.

16    Section 99-99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
17becoming law.