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Public Act 102-0005


 

Public Act 0005 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 102-0005
 
HB2877 EnrolledLRB102 16928 LNS 22342 b

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

 
    Section 5-1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act.
 
    Section 5-5. Purposes and findings. The purpose of this
Act is for the State to implement federal Coronavirus Relief
Fund (CRF) assistance to renters administered by the U.S.
Department of the Treasury, appropriated from the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2021.
    International, national, State, and local governments and
health authorities are responding to an outbreak of a disease
caused by the novel Coronavirus referred to as COVID-19.
African American and Latino households in the State are at
disproportionate risk of exposure to and the contraction of
COVID-19 and to economic effects of this pandemic.
    On March 9, 2020, the Governor issued a disaster
declaration proclamation in this State because of the threat
of COVID-19.
    On March 26, 2020, the President of the United States
declared that a major disaster exists in the State and ordered
Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local
recovery efforts in the areas affected by the COVID-19
pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020 and continuing.
    Unpaid rent, late fees, and court costs are currently
accruing against residential tenants and will be demanded by
landlords after the expiration of the emergency period.
    To reduce the rental arrears throughout this State, all
eligible residential landlords and tenants alike shall avail
themselves of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
    The State deems it necessary to protect public health,
life, and property during this declared state of emergency by
protecting residential tenants, homeowners, and housing
providers from certain evictions and other hardships during
this public health and economic crisis.
 
    Section 5-10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
    "Administering State agency" means any agency or
department of the State that is eligible to receive a direct
federal allocation of federal Emergency Rental Assistance
funds that will disburse funds and administer all or a portion
of the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
    "Applicant" or "program applicant" means any person or
entity who is a residential tenant or lessee or landlord or
lessor that has submitted an application, individually or
jointly, to receive federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds.
    "Eligible household" has the same meaning as used by the
federal law enacting the federal Emergency Rental Assistance
program.
    "Program" means the federal Emergency Rental Assistance
Program.
 
    Section 5-15. Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program.
    (a) Any department or agency of the State eligible to
receive a direct federal allocation and charged with
disbursing allocated funds and administering the federal
program shall do so in accordance with federal and State law.
    (b) Consistent with federal law, any State agency
administering this program shall create a process to provide
rental assistance directly to eligible renters and to obviate
or minimize the necessity of lessor or utility provider
participation in submitting the application when the lessor or
utility provider: (i) refuses to accept a direct payment; or
(ii) fails to cooperate with an application for assistance.
The administering State agency shall make payments to a lessor
or utility provider on behalf of an eligible household with a
statement indicating which eligible household the payment is
being made for, except that, if the lessor or utility provider
does not agree to accept such a payment from the administering
State agency after the administering State agency has made
contact with the lessor or utility provider, then the
administering State agency may make such payments directly to
the eligible household for the purpose of the eligible
household making payments to the lessor or utility provider.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing in this Act shall be
construed to require a lessor or utility provider to accept
funds from the program, whether paid directly by the
administering State agency or by the eligible household.
    (c) Consistent with federal law, any State agency
administering this program shall provide rental assistance in
an amount based on stated need rather than on a flat or fixed
amount. An eligible household's stated need may include, but
is not limited to, the amount of arrears owed to a lessor,
utility provider, or both, or future rental payments based on
monthly rent.
    (d) Consistent with federal law, nothing in this Act shall
be construed as precluding any administering State agency from
capping or setting a limit on the amount of emergency rental
payments made on behalf of any single household. The
administering State agency may adopt additional eligibility
criteria, application procedures, and program rules necessary
to administer the program in conformity with the priorities
and public policies expressed within this Act and federal law,
as it may be amended.
    (e) Consistent with federal law prohibiting duplicative
payments from other federal programs, an administering State
agency shall not disqualify an eligible household from the
program based on previous application for or receipt of other
similar federal assistance for periods that are different than
that for which the program assistance is being provided under
this Act.
    (f) Unless necessary to comply with applicable federal or
State law, the administering State agency shall not, for
purposes of determining program eligibility, require a fully
executed written lease or any type of documentation relating
to any household member's immigration status. The
administering State agency may accept a demand for rent
letter, ledger or statement containing the outstanding
balance, termination notice, or other alternative form of
documentation containing or showing the amount of rental or
utility arrears owed.
 
    Section 5-20. Accessibility and transparency.
    (a) In addition to federal requirements, the administering
State agency shall make publicly accessible by publishing on
its website any important program information, including, but
not limited to, the following:
        (1) program application forms for households and
    lessors, including any joint program application forms;
        (2) program eligibility requirements;
        (3) the administering State agency's procedures and
    processes for administering the program;
        (4) the administering State agency's procedures and
    communication methods for notifying program applicants of
    defective applications due to incompletion, errors,
    missing information, or any other impediment;
        (5) the administering State agency's procedures and
    methods for applicants to remedy defective applications
    due to incompletion, errors, missing information, or any
    other impediment; and
        (6) any other important program information critical
    to applicants, including renters and lessors relating to
    the application requirements and process, eligibility
    determination, and disbursement of payment.
    (b) The administering State agency shall ensure that
important program information, including the application and
all marketing materials, is language accessible by publishing
to its website the same in both English and Spanish.
 
    Section 5-25. Process for further prioritizing applicants
for financial assistance and housing stability services. In
addition to federal program eligibility and prioritization
requirements, the administering State agency shall make best
efforts to give further prioritization to an eligible
household: (i) located within a disproportionately impacted
area based on positive COVID-19 cases; (ii) that has a
documented history of housing instability or homelessness; or
(iii) that has a significant amount of rental arrears.
 
    Section 5-30. Required notifications and correspondence.
The administering State agency shall ensure it communicates
clearly with an applicant about the application determination
process, including acceptance, status of a pending
application, and any reason for denying an application.
        (1) The administering State agency shall provide
    notice to an applicant upon finding that a submitted
    application is defective or should otherwise be considered
    ineligible, denied, or rejected.
        (2) The notice from the administering State agency
    shall explain the reason why an applicant's submitted
    application is defective or should otherwise be considered
    ineligible, denied, or rejected.
        (3) The notice shall contain the necessary
    information, process, accepted method, and deadline for
    the applicant to remedy any defective or deficient
    application, provided that remedy is possible.
        (4) All notice and correspondence required to be
    provided by the administering State agency shall be given
    promptly and without unnecessary delay to any applicant.
 
Article 10.

 
    Section 10-5. The Code of Civil Procedure is amended by
changing Section 9-121 and by adding Sections 9-121.5, 9-122,
15-1513, and 15-1514 as follows:
 
    (735 ILCS 5/9-121)
    Sec. 9-121. Sealing of court file.
    (a) Definition. As used in this Section, "court file"
means the court file created when an eviction action is filed
with the court.
    (b) Discretionary sealing of court file. The court may
order that a court file in an eviction action be placed under
seal if the court finds that the plaintiff's action is
sufficiently without a basis in fact or law, which may include
a lack of jurisdiction, that placing the court file under seal
is clearly in the interests of justice, and that those
interests are not outweighed by the public's interest in
knowing about the record.
    (c) Mandatory sealing of court file. The court file
relating to an eviction action brought against a tenant under
Section 9-207.5 of this Code or as set forth in subdivision
(h)(6) of Section 15-1701 of this Code shall be placed under
seal.
    (d) This Section is operative on and after August 1, 2022.
(Source: P.A. 100-173, eff. 1-1-18.)
 
    (735 ILCS 5/9-121.5 new)
    Sec. 9-121.5. Sealing of court file.
    (a) As used in this Section, "court file" means the court
file created when an eviction action is filed with the court.
    (b) The court shall order the sealing of any court file in
a residential eviction action if:
        (1) the interests of justice in sealing the court file
    outweigh the public interest in maintaining a public
    record;
        (2) the parties to the eviction action agree to seal
    the court file;
        (3) there was no material violation of the terms of
    the tenancy by the tenant; or
        (4) the case was dismissed with or without prejudice.
    (c) The court file relating to an eviction action brought
against a tenant under Section 9-207.5 of this Code or as set
forth in subdivision (h)(6) of Section 15-1701 of this Code
shall be placed under seal.
    (d) A sealed court file shall be made available only to the
litigants in the case, their counsel or prospective counsel,
and public employees responsible for processing the
residential eviction action.
    (e) Upon motion and order of the court, a sealed court file
may be made available for scholarly, educational,
journalistic, or governmental purposes only, balancing the
interests of the parties and the public in nondisclosure with
the interests of the requesting party. Identifying information
of the parties shall remain sealed, unless the court
determines that release of the information is necessary to
fulfill the purpose of the request and the interests of
justice so dictate. Nothing in this subsection shall permit
the release of a sealed court file or the information
contained therein for a commercial purpose.
    (f) Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), any
person who disseminates a court file sealed under this
Section, or the information contained therein, for commercial
purposes shall be liable for a civil penalty of $2,000, or
twice the actual and consequential damages sustained,
whichever is greater, as well as the costs of the action,
including reasonable attorney's fees.
    (g) The Attorney General may enforce a violation of this
Section as an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud and
Deceptive Business Practices Act. All remedies, penalties, and
authority granted to the Attorney General by the Consumer
Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act shall be available
to him or her for the enforcement of this Section.
    (h) Nothing in this Section prohibits a landlord from
receiving a reference from a previous landlord of a
prospective tenant. Nothing in this Section prohibits a
landlord from providing a reference for a previous or current
tenant to a prospective landlord of that tenant.
    (i) This Section is repealed on August 1, 2022.
 
    (735 ILCS 5/9-122 new)
    Sec. 9-122. COVID-19 emergency sealing of court file.
    (a) As used in this Section, "COVID-19 emergency and
economic recovery period" means the period beginning on March
9, 2020, when the Governor issued the first disaster
proclamation for the State to address the circumstances
related to COVID-19, and ending on March 31, 2022.
    (b) The court file shall be sealed upon the commencement
of any residential eviction action during the COVID-19
emergency and economic recovery period. If a residential
eviction action filed during the COVID-19 emergency and
economic recovery period is pending on the effective date of
this Act and is not sealed, the court shall order the sealing
of the court file. In accordance with Section 9-121.5, no
sealed court file, sealed under this Section, shall be
disseminated.
    (c) If the court enters a judgment in favor of the
landlord, the court may also enter an order to unseal the court
file under this Section. A court shall order the court file to
be unsealed if:
        (1) the action is not based in whole or in part on the
    nonpayment of rent during the COVID-19 emergency and
    economic recovery period; and
        (2) The requirements of subsection (b) or (c) of
    Section 9-121.5 have not been met.
    (d) Subsections (d) through (h) of Section 9-121.5 shall
also be applicable and incorporated into this Section.
 
    (735 ILCS 5/15-1513 new)
    Sec. 15-1513. Temporary COVID-19 stay of judicial sales,
orders of possession.
    (a) Notwithstanding Section 15-1507, no judicial
foreclosure sale shall be held between the effective date of
this Section and July 31, 2021. Any judicial foreclosure sale
pending as of the effective date of this Section shall be
cancelled and renoticed for a date after July 31, 2021.
    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (g) of Section 15-1508, no
order of possession pursuant to a confirmation of judicial
foreclosure sale shall be entered by a court, placed with a
sheriff for execution, or executed by a sheriff until a date
after July 31, 2021.
    (c) This Section applies to any action to foreclose a
mortgage relating to (i) residential real estate as defined in
Section 15-1219, and (ii) real estate improved with a dwelling
structure containing dwelling units for 6 or fewer families
living independently of each other in which the mortgagor is a
natural person landlord renting the dwelling units, even if
the mortgagor does not occupy any of the dwelling units as his
or her personal residence.
 
    (735 ILCS 5/15-1514 new)
    Sec. 15-1514. Temporary COVID-19 stay of certain
foreclosure proceedings and filings.
    (a) This Section applies to any action to foreclose a
mortgage relating to (i) residential real estate as defined in
Section 15-1219, and (ii) real estate improved with a dwelling
structure containing dwelling units for 6 or fewer families
living independently of each other in which the mortgagor is a
natural person landlord renting the dwelling units, even if
the mortgagor does not occupy any of the dwelling units as his
or her personal residence.
    (b) Any action to foreclose a mortgage pending on the
effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General
Assembly, including actions filed on or before March 9, 2020,
or commenced within 30 days of the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly, shall be stayed
until May 1, 2021.
    (c) No court shall accept for filing any action to
foreclose a mortgage before May 1, 2021.
    (d) All deadlines related to any pending foreclosure
proceeding on the effective date of this Section, including
the running of any redemption period, are tolled until May 1,
2021.
    (e) If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subsection, or
part of this Section shall be adjudged by any court of
competent jurisdiction to be invalid and after exhaustion of
all further judicial review, the judgment shall not affect,
impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be
confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph,
subsection, or part of this Section directly involved in the
controversy in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
 
    Section 10-15. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
Practices Act is amended by adding Section 2Z.5 as follows:
 
    (815 ILCS 505/2Z.5 new)
    Sec. 2Z.5. Dissemination of a sealed a court file.
    (a) A private entity or person who violates Section
9-121.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure commits an unlawful
practice within the meaning of this Act.
    (b) This Section is repealed on August 1, 2022.
 
Article 99.

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

Effective Date: 05/17/2021