Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sandra Emerson Discusses Senate Bill Addressing Foreclosure Process

A recent state Senate bill aims to fast-track aspects of the mortgage foreclosure process, according to a recent article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. However, many foreclosure defense lawyers and consumer protection advocates in Illinois are concerned about whether the Senate bill actually might not have the best interests of debtors in mind. Some commentators have voiced worries that the proposed legislation “would unfairly advantage bank lenders.” Sandra Emerson was quoted in the article, emphasizing that the bill may require more of homeowners than is fair.
What else do you need to know about the Senate bill, and what else does Sandra Emerson have to say about the potential harms it could pose for homeowners in the Chicago area?
Learning More About Senate Bill 192
The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 192, aims to make revisions to Section 15-1506 of the Code of Civil Procedure. More specifically, the bill would amend the mortgage foreclosure article of this part of the law, and it would make two primary changes:
  • When there is a foreclosure trial, once the mortgage lender presents the mortgage in the current case and the mortgage note, it establishes a prima facie case for foreclosure; and
  • The initial burden of proof would shift from the lender to the borrower as soon as the mortgage lender establishes a foreclosure case.
What is a prima facie case? In brief, it is one that is sufficient to establish that the party presenting evidence has enough in its favor to move forward with the case. As you might be able to guess, these proposed amendments to Illinois law could make it more difficult for homeowners to defend against foreclosure, while also making it easier, potentially, for banks to be able to move forward with foreclosure cases against struggling debtors.
Foreclosure Defense Advocates in Illinois Speak Out Against Proposed Legislation
In response to the proposed new law, many Illinois foreclosure defense advocates emphasize that such amendments to the law suggested by SB 192 could deny mortgage borrowers of due process. Sandra Emerson emphasized that the Senate bill has the potential to do serious harm to borrowers who want to build a successful foreclosure defense in order to remain in their homes. Given that mortgage servicers make errors, it can be difficult for a borrower to dispute the amount owed early in the case, and the banks could move forward, potentially unfairly, with a foreclosure case. As she explained, “What we’ve noticed is that a lot of mortgage companies make mistakes, very serious errors in accounting.”
Moreover, as Emerson clarified, shifting the burden of proof to the homeowner makes it very difficult on the homeowner: “That’s really hard for anybody to do . . . .  You don’t have any way to prove what is actually owed, because the bank has the information you need to do that.” As Emerson highlighted, the way in which the bill has been written (including the shift in the burden of proof) would favor the banks while making it so that “someone who is a layperson isn’t going to understand the potential impact that this law would have.”
Contact an Oak Park Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
If you are facing foreclosure, it is more important than ever to discuss your case with an Oak Park foreclosure defense attorney. An advocate at the Emerson Law Firm can speak with you today. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.
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