Landlord Can't Get Rent Relief Because Tenant Refuses To Sign For It

CBS 2 Political Reporter Dana Kozlov reports the landlord said all she needs is a signature from her tenant. But the tenant isn't cooperating.

Video Transcript

- A Chicago landlord hasn't been paid rent in more than two years, but now the state is offering rent relief. But she can't get the free cash so she reached out to CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov for help. Dana, all she needs is a signature.

DANA KOZLOV: Yeah, Brad, from her tenant. And you think that would be an easy get, but this tenant is not cooperating. And we've found it is a loophole leaving many landlords in the lurch.

- These are to the rental assistance.

DANA KOZLOV: This 74-year-old landlord sifts through hundreds of documents related to troubles with her tenant. A woman who lives in this West Pullman house the senior citizen owns, and hasn't paid her of rent since February 2019. she owes almost $31,000.

- We haven't paid the taxes because we don't have money to pay the taxes. We haven't paid the water bill.

DANA KOZLOV: She doesn't want to be identified but reached out to us in desperation. She'd hoped the state's new rental assistance program might help get her back rent,

- We just can't reach her.

DANA KOZLOV: A problem because both landlord and tenant have to apply.

- I asked was it an exception to the rule, because if you can't get the tenant to sign the papers then you can't be helped.

LORI QUIST: I mean I'm consistently hearing that.

DANA KOZLOV: Landlord attorney Lori Quist says it's a critical loophole also affecting many of her clients, who right now have no recourse.

LORI QUIST: I think it would have been very nice when these agencies are implementing these policies, they reach out to the landlord bar and speak to attorneys that are regularly entrenched in this.

DANA KOZLOV: We tried to speak with the tenant too. Someone eventually answered the door. Is she here?

- Please turn off that camera.

DANA KOZLOV: We're trying to reach Ms. Staley on behalf--

- OK, please turn off the--


DANA KOZLOV: Lori Quist says she's advising her clients to call the Illinois Housing Authority.

LORI QUIST: At least maybe once the moratorium is lifted they can tell the judge, you know, judge I did everything possible.

DANA KOZLOV: But this landlord has no money to even call a lawyer.

- I can't do anything but take the loss. I'd lose everything that I've worked for so hard down through the years.

DANA KOZLOV: This landlord says she also tried to get some help from a housing agency but she hit a dead end. The deadline for landlords to apply for this assistance is Monday, June 7th so her time is running out. Live outside the Thompson Center in the loop, Dana Kozlov CBS 2 News.