Illinois Allows Lenders to Fast-Track Foreclosures for Abandoned Homes
By: Krista Franks Brock
As states across the country continue to struggle with lengthy foreclosure timelines, Illinois took a momentous step to shorten its foreclosure process last week. A new Illinois state law that allows servicers to fast-track the foreclosure process on certain properties has the potential to shorten a two-year process to between 90 and 180 days.
The bill, which took almost as long to pass as Illinois former foreclosure process, received Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s signature Friday.
“This law will help restore neighborhoods and property values while fighting crime and blight by decreasing the time a home sits empty and getting it back on the market quickly,” Quinn said at the passing of the bill.
“It also allows us to make major investments to keep families in their homes by preventing foreclosures in the first place,” Quinn added.
Abandoned single-family homes and empty multi-family properties are eligible for fast-tracked foreclosures under the new law.
Lenders must comply with certain notice requirements, and a judge must verify the property is vacant to proceed.
“Abandoned homes bring down property values, function as safe-houses for criminals and discourage the economic growth conditions our communities need to recover,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), one of the local lawmakers who sponsored the bill.
In addition to fast-tracking foreclosures, Senate Bill 16 aims to prevent foreclosure by directing funds to two state programs – the Foreclosure Prevention Fund and the Abandoned Property Municipality Relief Program.
Foreclosure filing fees paid by banks initiating foreclosures will flow into these two programs in order to provide foreclosure prevention efforts such as housing counseling and to deal with abandoned properties currently weighing on local neighborhoods.
Under the new law, foreclosure filing fees vary for banks depending on how many foreclosures they file each year. Those filing more than 175 foreclosures must pay $500 per filing. Those filing between 50 and 175 foreclosures will pay $250, and those filing less than 50 foreclosures will pay $50 per foreclosure.
Quinn expects the state will acquire more than $120 million from foreclosure filing fees over the next three years.
This will allow the state to disperse about $28 million to maintain abandoned properties and about $13 million to housing counseling efforts.
“For too long our broken foreclosure system has burdened communities with abandoned homes and been a drag on our economy, but now we can get to work turning these properties from problems into solutions,” said Karen Yarbrough, the original House sponsor for the bill and the current Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
“The provisions in this law to help families avoid foreclosure will also play a big role in the housing recovery, and I’m proud to see it signed into law,” Yarbrough said.
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