In certain states, a foreclosure can take a very long time to be completed -- around two years on average in Illinois. However, Illinois recently streamlined the process for abandoned properties. Read on to learn more about how a foreclosure can be expedited for abandoned homes in Illinois and why this could have a beneficial effect for lenders, borrowers, and neighborhoods alike.
(To learn about other Illinois laws affecting foreclosure, visit our Illinois Foreclosure Law Center.)
Illinois foreclosures take an exceptionally long time, about 720 days on average, to complete. However, on February 8, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law Senate Bill 16, which allows a lender to file a court motion seeking expedited foreclosure proceedings on properties that are:
(Oddly enough, the bill took approximately two years to pass, which is roughly the same amount of time that it takes for an Illinois foreclosure takes to be completed.)
Consequently, beginning on June 1, 2013, lenders will be able to foreclose on an abandoned property in as little as 90 to 180 days.
Facing foreclosure? The Foreclosure Survival Guide walks you through the options for saving your home or walking away with money in your pocket.
Under the voluntary fast-track process, the lender files a motion at the time the foreclosure complaint is filed (or any time thereafter) that demonstrates that the property is abandoned and asking to expedite the process.
Abandoned property under the new law means property that is:
In addition, two or more of the following conditions must exist in order for it to be considered abandoned:
The court will hold a hearing to determine if the property is abandoned within 15 days after the motion is filed, but no earlier than before the period to answer the foreclosure complaint has expired. Notice of the motion and hearing (including the time, date, and place of the hearing) must be sent to the last known address of the borrower and posted on the property.
If the judge finds that the property is abandoned residential property, the case shall immediately proceed to trial.
However, the court may not grant a motion for an expedited foreclosure if the borrower, an unknown owner, or a lawful occupant appears in the action before or at the hearing and objects to a finding of abandonment. Likewise, the court is required to vacate a judgment if, prior to confirmation of the sale, a borrower or lawful occupant appears in the action and demonstrates that the property is not abandoned.
When properties are abandoned, a lengthy foreclosure process ultimately harms the neighborhood. Vacant homes quickly start to show obvious signs of neglect. The lawn doesn’t get cut, litter begins to pile up, and the home often falls into disrepair. Abandoned homes are also susceptible to vandalism, squatters, and crime. This drags down the value of the property itself, as well as of the entire neighborhood.
Speeding up the foreclosure process for abandoned properties:
Homeowners won't become the victim of a zombie foreclosure if the lender completes the process promptly. (To learn more about zombie foreclosures and the harmful effects they can have on homeowners, see Zombie Foreclosures.
In addition, Senate Bill 16 directs funds to two beneficial state programs -- the Foreclosure Prevention Program and the Abandoned Property Municipality Relief Program.
Under these programs, foreclosure filing fees paid by banks to initiate foreclosures will be used to:
The fee ranges from $50 to $500 depending on the number of foreclosures the bank filed in the preceding year.
To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in Illinois, see Summary of Illinois' Foreclosure Laws.
If you are an Illinois homeowner at risk of foreclosure or struggling with your mortgage payments, visit www.keepyourhomeillinois.org, call toll-free 1-855-KEEP-411 (1-855-533-7411), or visit one of the housing counseling agencies throughout the state.