from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Thursday, September 11, 2008


As of July, one in every 583 Illinois households was in foreclosure. According to RealtyTrac, there were 8,915 foreclosure pending statewide, 5,378 in Cook County, alone. The July numbers represent a 9% increase over June and is 61% higher than in July, 2007.

By now, just about every real estate lawyer in the area has faced a transaction that has involved a bank selling a property already lost to foreclosure, a seller with a pending foreclosure, or a pre-foreclosure "short sale." Sadly, I've seen them all.

Most of the time, these properties are (or were) the seller's principal residence. Others however have been investment properties. A couple of those investment deals have been complicated by the fact that a tenant is/was living in the distressed property.

There is much uncertainty about tenant rights in a foreclosure action. Most often, the lender does not know that a tenant is living in the building and the tenant does not know that the landlord is losing the building to the bank.

This is, to say the least, a very stressful and disconcerting situation for effected tenants.

Enter the Lawyers Committee For Better Housing, in Chicago. LCBH has created a new task force to focus on this very issue: tenants' rights in regard to foreclosed property. If you know anyone in this situation, you might want to let them know that they do indeed have rights and can get appropriate guidance from these highly trained and very knowledgable lawyers. The lawyer heading up the Foreclosure interests of LCBH is Mark Swartz. LCBH's telephone number in Chicago is 312-347-7600.

UPDATE: The August numbers from RealtyTrac are not encouraging: 5,980 foreclosures pending in Cook County; that is 1 in 360 households.