CHICAGO (CBS) – These last two years, filled with a pandemic of job losses and other changes, have led to a delicate dance between some landlords and their tenants.
A woman from Romeoville turned to CBS 2 after her tenant stopped paying. She asked for help in the city of Chicago, but they sent her money to the wrong person.
Now CBS 2 is figuring out why the city said it was her problem.
“It hurt a lot for me,” Babetta Finger said.
If you’ve been a landlord, you can identify yourself with Stress Finger. This has been constant since she took control of her father’s house on the West Meadow.
“He has owned this house since 1957,” Finger said.
Her father, Richard, died last August, and Finger said the tenant took advantage.
“The tenant decided that since Mr. Richard had died, he would no longer have to pay rent,” Finger said.
And it continued, she said, for months and until the end of the year, leaving her pinching pennies.
“The electricity bill, the gas bill, the property taxes, everything in this house I had to pay,” Finger said. “And I have my own house to pay for, so I pay double.”
Her lawyer advised her to apply for a rental assistance program in Chicago to compensate for some of these losses. It requires both tenants and landlords to apply, and so it and the tenant did. And it paid off.
“I have documents that show.“ Congratulations, I was approved, ”Finger said.
A total of $ 6,914, covering nine months of rent and utilities, is said to have been received by check at Finger’s home.
But months passed and she did not come. She therefore appealed to the Chicago Department of Housing. In an email from program director Finger learned that her tenant had received a check with his name on it. They wrote that “it is a pity that the tenant cashed the ERAP check and did not pay the rent.”
Translation: the tenant received almost $ 7,000, which is taxpayer money, and the city will not help.
“I just don’t understand how they could have sent him my check if he hadn’t paid the bills,” Finger said. “After all these months, it’s unbelievable.”
The Department of Housing said it “could not send another check for rental assistance,” suggesting Finger “consult a lawyer to be able to get her money back.”
“They made a mistake and now expect me to pay for it. This is wrong, ”Palets said.
The finger is confused. She has since sold her father’s house, where she said the tenant still lives, but because of this confusion the stress caused by this property has not stopped.
“I just can’t believe they can’t fix their mistake,” Finger complained.
We contacted the Chicago Department of Housing, but did not receive any news from them before our initial deadline. After Finger’s story went on the air, we received a letter from the Department answering our question of how it happened.
The department said that since Finger sold the house in December 2021, she was no longer eligible for the money she received under the program. It says that according to the rules set at the federal level by the Ministry of Finance, the money from the emergency rent should go to someone tied to the property – and Finger was no longer that person.
The department says that’s why the money went to the tenant.
Finger says that at the time of applying for emergency rent, there were no documents or warnings that the sale of housing would exclude her from the program. She is also disappointed because the money the program helped her cover was the rent she paid before selling the house.