Is Your Landlord in Foreclosure?

Is your landlord in foreclosure? Tenants are often taken completely unaware that the home they are living in is in foreclosure.  One would hope that a landlord with an imminent foreclosure sales date would give notice to their tenants but ….

Foreclosure Process in Illinois

Each state has its own specific laws regarding foreclosure. Some require judicial process and some don’t. Illinois is a judicial foreclosure state meaning that the lender must file suit against the borrower in order to foreclose on the home.  A mortgage borrower is considered in default once he misses at least three payments.  At this point, the lender will initiate foreclosing proceedingswith the court.  A notice of default is sent to the borrower and the public records will reflect a “lis penden” (suit pending) as notice of the claim against the property.  In this time period, the borrower can make arrangements with the bank to either modify his loan or bring his account current.  However, the clock is ticking.

The process for Illinois from filing date to foreclosure sale date is by law approximately 7 months (210 days).  Of course, in the ongoing foreclosure crisis, the timeline can be a lot longer because of the backlog of foreclosures. As a tenant, you have no rights in regards to receiving this information.  In addition, despite pending foreclosure, the owner of the building still has the right to enforce the lease contract as long as he owns the property. The owner may not be paying the mortgage but per the terms of the lease, you are still expected to pay the rent.

How to Find Out If Your Home is in Foreclosure

If you suspect that your landlord may be in foreclosure, here are steps to at least see if foreclosure has been initiated in Cook County. As a disclaimer, this is not meant to be legal advice. I am just sharing a source of public information.

You will need the parcel identification number (PIN) in order to search the public records.  Go to the Cook County assessor site to search by property address to get the PIN number.  With the PIN number, you are then able to go to the Cook County recorder’s site to see if there is a recent “lis penden” filed against your home.  Again, the owner may have worked out an agreement with his bank but this may be the basis for a conversation about the future of your living arrangements.

This is strictly for Cook County in Illinois but for different counties, your local realtor may be able to give you some direction.  Public records are a lot more accessible in many counties than ever before.

This may also be a good time to move from being a renter to a homeowner. Often, your monthly mortgage payment can be lower than rent.  Interest rates are still lower and prices in the Chicago are affordable in many neighborhoods.

Millie C. Lumpkin, Broker