HYDE PARK — Though TLC Property Management and Mac Properties officials signed Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s housing solidarity pledge, the landlords have started proceedings to evict tenants since the coronavirus shutdown began.
In April alone, TLC filed 38 complaints in Chicago and six in suburban Rolling Meadows, according the Cook County Circuit Court. Rents being sought in eight of these cases, filed April 22 and 23, range from $814 to $1,500, according to the Hyde Park Herald.
Mac Properties has filed 11 eviction proceedings since March 5, the company’s director of community development Peter Cassel confirmed to Block Club. Nine stem from unpaid rent from January to March, while the other two cases are over lease violations, he said.
Last month, Cassel told Block Club he “can’t think of an instance in which a resident has been trying to work with us that has resulted in an eviction.” But he acknowledged Mac has “had discussions” with the nine tenants facing eviction over unpaid rent.
“In each of these cases, residents have not made good-faith efforts to work with us to satisfy their obligations,” Cassel said. “That’s why we filed in court.”
The other two filings address “resident behaviors,” Cassel said. One is primarily over concerns that those living in the apartments “are not the people whose name is on the lease,” while the other alleges the tenant violated their lease’s no-smoking clause, according to the Herald.
No evictions have been filed against residents unable to pay rent due to the pandemic, according to Cassel. Mac Properties has signed Lightfoot’s pledge that landlords will offer a grace period for rent payments, a repayment plan option and waivers on late fees.
TLC tenants facing a loss of income were required to “clearly communicate their financial need with their property manager,” CEO Stuart Handler said in a statement. The tenants now facing eviction failed to do so, he said. More than 100 residents have received grace periods, payment plans and waived late fees for April rent, according to Handler.
“TLC Management Co. is proud to honor the Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge for renters who demonstrate a significant financial impact resulting from COVID-19,” Handler said.
In March, as the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic became clear, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart suspended evictions through May 18. After this date, eviction orders may once again be issued in the county.
Gov. JB Pritzker’s eviction moratorium, issued last week, allows for evictions if a tenant threatens the “health and safety” of other tenants, is a risk to the property, or violates the “building code, health ordinance or similar [regulations].”
The executive order does not relieve tenants “of the obligation to pay rent.”
The news about eviction proceedings has some Mac tenants feeling “pressured” to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to negotiate relief, according to one tenant. They requested to remain anonymous because they signed the agreement.
The tenant, whose household has lost income because of the pandemic, is in support of the ongoing rent strike among Mac tenants. But they chose to negotiate with the company, as they weren’t convinced the strike had a “critical mass.”
The tenant who signed the NDA now has 60 days to pay their April rent. Payment plans were one of the three options Mac offered to tenants in a March 30 letter, alongside moving to a cheaper apartment without penalty and “a path to lease termination.”
Relief negotiations are “not a negotiation,” the tenant said. “They say, ‘These are the options, which do you want?'”
“We ended up giving in, but other people should know: [Mac is] really strongly implying there’s some kind of negotiation and that they’ll work with you, but that’s not what happened,” the tenant said.
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