Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicago landlord in foreclosure or losing unit for unpaid condo assessments!

More and more tenants, especially in Chicago, are finding themselves subject to getting evicted because their landlord has essentially not been paying their rent. Sometimes, when someone is renting a condominium unit in Chicago, the condo association hasn't been paid its assessments for months. Or, the mortgage lender hasn't been paid. Often it is both.
We are presently getting more calls from tenants who are subject to lose possession thanks to unpaid assessments, as many banks have temporarily put their foreclosure actions on halt while condo associations have not. So even though Bank of America might not be moving forward on its foreclosure case because of a questionable Countrywide Home Loan mortgage, the condominium association will not hesitate to re-take possession.

Section 5-12-095 of the Chicago Residential Landlord & Tenant Ordinance (RLTO) required your landlord to give you written notice about any foreclosure pending against the unit before you entered into a lease, and if they don't, you might win penalty damages against the landlord equal to $200.00 plus costs and attorney fees. And that can be a basis to terminate the lease. But this section does not apply to condo association evictions that will put you out just as fast, or faster, than a foreclosure. In other words, the landlord was not specifically required to disclose a pending action against them by their condo association for unpaid assessments, or the fact that they are delinquent in paying their assessments.

A 2009 amendment to subsection (h)(3) of 735 ILCS 5/15-1701, a part of the Illinois Foreclosure Law, effective July 23, 2009, requires that a rent-paying tenant be given a proper written notice which then triggers that tenant's right to stay in the property and pay rent another 120 days (about four months) before being forced to move out. It says in part that:
  • (4) In a case of foreclosure where the occupant is current on his or her rent, or where timely written notice of to whom and where the rent is to be paid has not been provided to the occupant , or where the occupant has made good-faith efforts to make rental payments in order to keep current, any order of possession must allow the occupant to retain possession of the property covered in his or her rental agreement (i) for 120 days following the notice of the hearing on the supplemental petition that has been properly served upon the occupant , or (ii) through the duration of his or her lease, whichever is shorter, provided that if the duration of his or her lease is less than 30 days from the date of the order, the order shall allow the occupant to retain possession for 30 days from the date of the order. A mortgagee in possession, receiver, holder of a certificate of sale or deed, or purchaser at the judicial sale, who asserts that the occupant is not current in rent, shall file an affidavit to that effect in the supplemental petition proceeding. If the occupant has been given timely written notice of to whom and where the rent is to be paid, this item (4) shall only apply if the occupant continues to pay his or her rent in full during the 120-day period or has made good-faith efforts to pay the rent in full during that period. No mortgagee-in-possession, receiver or holder of a certificate of sale or deed, or purchaser who fails to file a supplemental petition under this subsection during the pendency of a mortgage foreclosure shall file a forcible entry and detainer action against an occupant of the mortgaged real estate until 90 days after a notice of intent to file such action has been properly served upon the occupant.
However, just like RLTO 5-12-095, this rule does not apply to actions for possession by the condominium association. Only foreclosures.

Sure, the law says the landlord owes you your security deposit back and probably damages for breaching their lease with you if you get kicked out because of a foreclosure. But this is a landlord who has not paid some serious bills for a long time. How likely do you think it is that you will collect against this landlord who has not paid their mortgage or assessments, even if you win in court? You are best off relying on your own investigation before entering into a lease, not the disclosures a landlord is required to make under the law. Real life and protecting yourself should trump dependence on your rights in this situation.

So before the apartment finding service gets you sign off on that lease, please check if your landlord might have a foreclosure or eviction filed against them in Cook County.
You can go to Cook County Case Search and (1) select "Chancery Division" then go down leaving selections about case number and date filed blank, then (2) type in your landlord's last name or its company name and select "Defendant" then (3) hit "Search Now".

You can use the same site and method to see if the landlord is being sued by the condo association by changing the kind of search from "Chancery Division" to "Civil Division."

1 comment:

arrielle_p said...

I like this article and its so very interesting. Thank you for posting it.
Great rad too.

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