Emergency Rent Resources for Tenants In Illinois for 2020-2021

Emergency Rent in a Covid19 Pandemic

Since March 2020, many landlords have been in a panic. How are they going to collect rent when their tenant is being told to not work or being forced to stay home?  From a tenant’s perspective, how are they going to afford their monthly bills when they do not have the ability to work! 2020 has certainly been unprecedented and we all have to look to each other in a trusting manner to get through these difficult times.

Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Releases Emergency Rent Funds

IHDA offered in September of 2020 the opportunity for tenants behind on rent to enter a lottery and receive up to $5000.00 rental assistance in back rent. These funds would go directly to the landlord in the form of a direct deposit – if they were lucky enough to be chosen. While these program application period expired in early September of 2020, many landlords have been waiting on an update regarding whether their tenant would qualify and how and when they would be notified. Now, we are told that this program is to release all checks by 11/19/2020 although only 30,000 applicants have been chosen to receive assistance at this time.

Eviction Moratorium Appears Ongoing…

While Illinois’ Governor, JB Pritzker, continues to extend an eviction moratorium, many landlords are stuck trying to figure out a means in which to get back payment of rent owed to them. While legal counsel has provided our office the ability to file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court, at the local county court, for back rent as a breach of contract – there is just no means to know if this will be acceptable to a Judge knowing that an eviction moratorium is in place and tenants truly are in need of steady hourly work in an age when we are all being told to stay home.

COVID19 Financial Hardship Forms

Through all of this, one thing should remain clear for the landlord – tenant needs to prove they have been effected by Covid19. Thus, providing your resident a financial hardship form to complete should be one of the early steps in establishing an inability to pay rent. This will provide the landlord leverage in Court (if and when they ever open!).

Here is a copy of the financial hardship form we like to use :


Cash for Keys

One option we have tried to work with is a “cash for keys” program. In essence, you would offer the tenant an agreement to leave the residency by a specific time and date, handover keys at that time, in exchange for a payment. Here’s a template of a “cash for keys” agreement we like :


While this option also seems desperate, while landlords are 8+ months into a pandemic with thousands of dollars potentially owed to them, the idea of offering money seems silly. Also, tenants that are truly desperate won’t have anywhere to move.

Emergency Rent Resources for Resident

While only 30,000 applications for emergency rental assistance have been accepted in Illinois at the time of publishing this blog post, there is hope that the State of Illinois will receive more funds and be able to assist more tenants. There’s also hope that a vaccine for Covid19 is on the horizon!

If all else fails, there are non-profits in Illinois that are open to residents requesting rental assistance. Illinois Housing Development Authority publishes this list and, it appears, updates it accordingly. Here’s their most recent list that you can provide your tenant base :



Finally, if your resident truly has no where to go, starting their search at ILHOUSINGSEARCH.ORG is a great place to start. Affordable housing starts here.


As yes…one last resource. If your resident truly has no where to go…the State of Illinois (IDHS) has this resource for emergency and transitional housing:


Property Management Resources to Assist

If you need assistance in collecting rent from your tenant, our office can help! CONTACT US TODAY!

Do you have ideas we should be adding to this emergency rent resource blog post?  Please leave your ideas in the COMMENTS below!