Chicago area landlords are expressing concern about the pandemic’s impact on rent payments, as well as proposed laws and ordinances that would cancel or postpone rent for a certain length of time.
The Chicago Real Estate Investors Association (REIA) said rent collection is down to 70 to 75 percent, and as a result, landlords are struggling.
“They still have to pay utilities, taxes, all the other expenses,” said Chicago REIA founder Andrew Holmes.
Christina and Kash Bhatty own several rental properties. The couple told NBC 5 their tenants have kept up with rent payments during the pandemic, but they are concerned about that continuing the longer the crisis continues.
“We don’t own these properties free and clear. We have to pay them ourselves. It’s hard on both sides,” said Christina Bhatty.
The Chicago REIA is urging landlords to work with their tenants on a solution.
Christina and Kash Bhatty said that could include payment plans.
"We can work together as a team," said Kash Bhatty.
The state of Illinois is providing rent and utility payment relief and has temporarily banned evictions.
Additionally, proposed laws and ordinances at the state and local level would cancel rent payments to provide relief for tenants impacted by coronavirus-related job cuts.
Holmes said the suggested legislation is too reactionary.
“The people who want to kind of respond to this crisis need to take more of a balanced approach, both to really help the landlords as well as the tenants,” Holmes said.
Gov. J. B. Pritzker acknowledged the hardship on both renters and landlords in his Tuesday news conference.
“We want to make sure people can pay their rent and we want to provide the assistance necessary for them to do that,” Pritzker said.
The Illinois Rental Property Owners Association said while it is not seeing a problem with missed rent payments on a state-wide level, there is no reason to cancel rent.
“The last thing we want to do is create volatility,” said the association’s Paul Arena. “We should help people who have fallen through the cracks.”