Back in September, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit against Safeguard Properties in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging that the company “wrongly told homeowners and renters that they could not live in their homes during the foreclosure process,” according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. In fact, the lawsuit alleged that Safeguard properties “illegally broke into the occupied homes of people behind on their mortgage or in foreclosure, locked them out and removed their belongings.” Certain Illinois laws protect residents from these kinds of abuses. The lawsuit arose after more than 200 Illinois residents reported that Safeguard committed these bad acts. One of the victims, the Chicago Tribune reported, returned home to find that the property Safeguard illegally removed included life-saving asthma pumps.
We’ve heard a lot of stories over the past several years about mortgage companies’ bad practices and about banks that have committed illegal acts. In many of these cases, the banks or servicers have agreed to large mortgage settlements to pay for the wrongs they’ve committed. Right now, the case against Safeguard properties is pending in court, but Safeguard filed a motion to dismiss. Will Illinois victims of Safeguard’s bad acts be compensated for the wrongs committed against them? If you believe your property management company, your mortgage servicer, or your bank haven’t treated you fairly, you may be eligible for compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Illinois foreclosure defense lawyers at the Emerson Law Firm today.
Legal Protections for Homeowners in Foreclosure
While the market has shown signs that it’s returning to pre-crash levels, there are still many Illinois homeowners who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments. There are specific Illinois laws that are designed to protect these homeowners from being illegally removed—or having their possessions removed—from their homes. According to the Chicago Tribune, “homeowners who have missed mortgage payments and are in foreclosure can remain in their homes until the court-supervised foreclosure process is completed and a judge has entered an order of possession against them.” Additionally, Illinois law protects renters, as “tenants living in rental buildings in foreclosure can stay until the lease expires, even if . . . the building has been repossessed.”
You might also remember that the Homeowner Protection Act of 2009, also known as the “Foreclosure Grace Period Act,” provides homeowners with an extended grace period in order to get back on track with their mortgage payments, according to Illinois Legal Aid. If homeowners are protected from the removal acts committed by Safeguard Properties, why has the company filed a motion to dismiss?
In its motion to dismiss, Safeguard claims that it never misled consumers and never forced them to vacate their properties. According to an article in DSNews.com, Safeguard referred specifically to a notice placed on the doors of some of these victims, explaining, “the State contends that Safeguard deceived mortgagors by placing a sticker on the door or properties found to be vacant. But the sticker . . . merely informs the reader of the vacancy determination and asks the reader to call Safeguard if the home is actually occupied.” Safeguard also alleges that the State has “failed to prove any deceptive or fraudulent practices.”
Time will tell whether the case against Safeguard Properties will move forward. In the meantime, the company faces serious allegations related to bad acts committed against Illinois residents. If you suspect that you have been a victim of mortgage-related fraud, contact a dedicated foreclosure defense attorney at the Emerson Law Firm today.
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