Cook Co. foreclosure evictions resume

October 20, 2008 3:01:21 PM PDT
Sheriff's deputies in Cook County resumed foreclosure evictions Monday, ending a ban that has been in effect for almost two weeks. Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart issued the eviction ban because he said too many renters were not being told their landlords had been foreclosed. The sheriff has resumed foreclosures after new safeguards were put in place to make sure renters were only displaced fairly. The rules favor tenants who have been paying their rent on time.

Dart was out with deputies Monday, talking with tenants and making sure they understand the new rules.

"These people would have been removed from their house, possessions taken out to the street. That's what would have happened. We changed that," said Dart.

Under the new process, banks will be required to provide more information to the court before evicting a tenant. Banks will have to prove they informed tenants about the state's 120-day grace period.

Dart says before his deputies didn't know if the place will be vacant or whether they'll find an angry owner or an unsuspecting tenant whose life will be turned upside down.

"Now with the rules that are in place, we're aware of who is in the house. We're aware that they have been notified. We're aware they have been involved in the court case and they have been apprised of all their rights including the length of time that they can stay in the house after the foreclosure proceeding," said Dart.

Eight people, including several children, who live in a home on the South Side are being evicted. Ruthie and Shadae Jones say they are disappointed that they have to move but are happy it doesn't have to be today.

"I'm grateful that this situation ended where we can still get help," said Ruthie Jones.

"It's not easy but at least today is not as embarrassing as it could have been," said Shadae Jones.

The sheriff's department serves 400 to 500 evictions every month. Dart says they are on pace to serve more than 5,000 this year.

On South Carpenter St., an extended family of five adults and two children have been paying rent for one year. The Cook County sheriff said the owner took the renters' money even after the property was foreclosed. The renters said they had no idea about the foreclosure.

"He should tell his tenant if the house was in foreclosure. We were paying rent, and it happens we don't know what's going on. I got my kids in the house. Hey, I don't know what's going on," said Tony Brown, tenant.

"We should have been told as tenants. We should have been told so that we could have started looking for something else," said Brenda Robinson, tenant.

On 54th Place, Sheryl Dockery said the landlord took their rent for five years. She suspected something was wrong when he didn't show up to pick up rent the last two months. On Monday, the sheriff confirmed her suspicions. The building was foreclosed and she'd have to leave, but only after the 120 days.

"We have to leave. We'll be able to do what we need to do. It's going to be OK," said Dockery.

ABC7 tried unsuccessfully to reach the former owners of the two properties on South Carpenter and 54th Place.

The sheriff's department served 19 foreclosure evictions Monday. The sheriff found the renters did not have notice, so none of them were evicted.


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