Two New State Laws May Improve the Lives of Illinois Renters

Governor Quinn with LCBH staff at bill signing

Governor Pat Quinn recently signed two important pieces of legislation into law. Both bills have the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for LCBH clients.

The Access to Justice Act was signed Thursday, August 15 and the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure bill was signed Wednesday, August 21.

Access to Justice Act

On Thursday, August 15, Governor Quinn signed the Access to Justice Act which will increase access to justice for all Illinoisans. The new law establishes two pilot projects: one creating a statewide military personnel and veterans’ legal assistance hotline and a program to provide court-based legal assistance within a circuit court in each of the five Appellate Court districts in the state.

“On behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court, I thank Governor Quinn and the General Assembly for enacting our proposal into law,” said Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, who attended the signing ceremony. “This law will make the Illinois court system more accessible to veterans and active duty service members and will help citizens in all walks of life. Additionally, it provides funding for self-help centers in law libraries, creates a task force to review the statutory fees imposed on litigation and will establish a pilot project to test how best to provide legal representation in certain civil cases to those who can’t afford an attorney.”

Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure

On Wednesday, August 21, Governor Quinn signed a bill strengthening the rights of renters who live in buildings that are in foreclosure. The law requires anyone acquiring a residential property via foreclosure to honor current leases or provide at least a 90-day notice to move. The new Illinois law extends key provisions of the federal Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act that is set to expire in 2014. Quinn said in a press release: “The foreclosure crisis has been devastating to homeowners as well as many families living in rental homes who are at risk of losing their home due to no fault of their own. As families in our communities continue to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, this law will ensure renters are protected from sudden forced moves that can be costly and disruptive to their lives.”

We will have more information in the coming weeks and months as we update our materials and presentations to incorporate these new laws. Please stay tuned!