Update on extreme cold in Cook County as it relates to tenant evictions

brrCook evictions called off because of cold weather.

For those of you landlords who have been following the Cook County Sheriff’s eviction schedule web page, you will have noticed that evictions are once again this week canceled for the 24th of January.  The Sheriff’s web page says “Evictions Will Be Cancelled Due To Weather / Rescheduled At A Later Date”.  There have not been many evictions so far in this new year.

By my unscientific observation, the Sheriff was running “about” six weeks (your actual times may vary on a case to case basis – so don’t rely upon this!) just before the moratorium (which was three business weeks long) went into effect.  After the moratorium was lifted, we experienced the coldest week in recent memory and evictions were called off all week.  Now, we’ve had evictions called off almost all of this week.  Making a simple math calculation, 6 + 3 + 1 + 1 = 11 weeks.  The Sheriff is theoretically behind by eleven weeks!  Obviously, the Sheriff will work hard to relieve that backlog, but during these weeks and days when evictions are not taking place, the list of people waiting to be evicted continues to grow.  The weather forecast for the business week next week shows only one day where the temperature gets up to 25 degrees and most days predicted to be much lower.

What is a landlord to do?  First, landlords should remember their obligations!  The city requires snow removal.  Landlords who provide heat need to keep rental properties heated to above the legal temperatures.  Landlords need to remember that these laws apply – no matter how unjust some might think it is – even when tenants in in default of a lease or have not paid rent.  They even apply for that period between the entry of an order for possession and the time when the Sheriff comes out to remove the tenant!  Is this unjust?  Sometimes it seems so, but it is the law.  Next, landlords should look for other options.  I’ve discussed “cash for keys” here before.  Again, unjust?  Maybe.  Its tough to be a landlord!  However, simple economics dictates that it might be cheaper to buy possession than to wait around for the Sheriff to clear his backlog of cases.

Keep in mind that General Order 2013-07 indicates that the Circuit Court of Cook County has indicated that the Sheriff shall cease execution of eviction orders (1) whenever the outside temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit or colder on the actual day of the eviction or (2) whenever regardless of outside temperature, extreme weather conditions endanger the health and welfare of those to be evicted.

Need help with a release agreement for cash for keys?  Need some advice on the eviction process and the costs and options?  Give our landlord-tenant attorneys a call to see if we are a match for an engagement to represent you.  And stay warm.

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