Friday, February 22, 2013

New Law Speeds Up Illinois Foreclosures

Do you live in an area blighted by vacant and abandoned properties?  Many Chicago communities have become accustomed to these visual signs of the foreclosure epidemic.  A new Illinois law may help to revitalize these afflicted neighborhoods.

On February 8, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new piece of legislation that will “fast-track” foreclosure proceedings for vacant or abandoned single-family homes and multi-family buildings in Illinois.  According to local news station WREX, this new law can shorten proceedings to just a few months, compared to the typical two-year process of a foreclosure in the state.

History of Senate Bill 16

The new law began as Senate Bill 16, and it has taken almost two years to pass.  Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins sponsored the bill, which was intended primarily to streamline and quicken the foreclosure process.  By December 2012, it had unanimously passed both the Illinois Senate and Assembly.  Collins indicated that the legislation was intended to shorten the duration of the foreclosure process from about 500 days down to about 100 days—the difference between years and months.    

Housingwire reported that many community advocates have praised the bill from its inception, since foreclosure-related home vacancies have tarnished the image of certain Chicago neighborhoods.  In addition to shortening the foreclosure timeline, Collins also conceived the bill to raise more than $20 million to “clean up vacant homes and lots,” and to generate millions in grant funding to provide housing counseling to struggling homeowners.  Given that Illinois foreclosures were near the top of the national average during 2012, this legislation would come as relief to community advocates and homeowners alike.

How the New Law Affects Illinois Homeowners and Potential Buyers

According to the Chicago Tribune, the new law permits a lender to file a motion seeking “expedited foreclosure proceedings” on single-family homes and multi-family buildings that are “not legally occupied.”  The law, which will go into effect on June 1, 2013, has a new “sliding scale” for foreclosure filing fees that ranges from $50 to $500, depending on the lender’s annual number of foreclosure actions.

In addition to unclogging the foreclosure buildups in the court system, the fees will generate approximately $120 million over the next several years, which will be directed to local municipalities to offset costs of cleaning up abandoned properties and funding homeowner-counseling programs.

Governor Quinn indicated that the law would do precisely what Senator Collins intended.  According to Quinn’s statement in the Chicago Tribune, the new law will help to restore neighborhoods that have been negatively affected by foreclosures, providing legal mechanisms and funding to clean up vacant and abandoned properties.  These changes will help to reduce crime in the affected areas, as well as to decrease the visual blight of home vacancies.  Additionally, Quinn emphasized that the law will also help to prevent these afflictions in the first place—the new legislation will provide nearly $13 million for counseling agencies, which will help to keep families in their homes.  This support will help nearly 18,000 struggling households in Illinois.

Are you facing foreclosure or concerned about the length of time and demands of filing a foreclosure motion?  An experienced Illinois foreclosure defense attorney can answer your questions and discuss your options with you.  Contact us today.

See Related Blog Posts:
Foreclosures in Illinois Near Top of Nation in 2012; Illinois Land Bank Aims to Revitalize Communities

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