Foreclosure Mediation Programs in Illinois

Some counties in Illinois offer mediation to help you work out an alternative to foreclosure with your lender.

In response to the foreclosure crisis, several counties in Illinois—Cook, Will, Peoria, Madison, Bond, McLean, Lake, Boone, Winnebago, and Kane—implemented mediation programs to assist borrowers in finding ways to avoid foreclosure. Read on to learn more about these mediation programs, how the mediation programs work, and how you can benefit from the process. (To learn about other options for dealing with foreclosure, visit Nolo's Foreclosure section.)

What is Foreclosure Mediation?

Foreclosure mediation is a process that is used to help homeowners avoid foreclosure by coming up with an alternate solution that benefits both the borrowers and the lender. Mediation consists of a meeting between:

  • the borrowers
  • their lender, and
  • an impartial third-party (the mediator).

At the meeting, the parties discuss the borrower's financial situation and try to negotiate a way for the homeowner to keep the home or give up the property without going through a foreclosure. By working together, the parties are often able to reach an agreement.

Potential outcomes of mediation include (often called loss mitigation options):

  • loan modification
  • forbearance agreement
  • short sale, or
  • deed in lieu of foreclosure.

(To get information about each of these options, see our Alternatives to Foreclosure area.)

How Foreclosure Works in Illinois

In Illinois, foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must foreclose through the state court system. The lender initiates the foreclosure by filing a complaint (sometimes called a petition) and having it served on the borrower, along with a summons to appear in court. To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see Will Your Foreclosure Take Place In or Out of Court?

To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in Illinois, see Summary of Illinois' Foreclosure Laws.

County Foreclosure Mediation Programs in Illinois

The counties of Cook, Will, Peoria, Madison, Bond, McLean, Lake, Boone, Winnebago, and Kane offer mediation programs. Below you can find information about the programs in a many of these counties.

Cook County Foreclosure Mediation

Cook County’s mediation program gives homeowners who have received a foreclosure summons access to housing counseling and legal assistance to explore ways to keep their home or negotiate a better way to give up the property.

Eligibility for Cook County Foreclosure Mediation

To participate in the mediation program, homeowners must:

  • reside in Cook County
  • have received a foreclosure summons from the Circuit Court of Cook County, and
  • occupy the property that is being foreclosed on (the property can be a single-family home, single-family condominium, or an apartment building with four or fewer units).

Starting the Mediation Process

If you have received a foreclosure summons, you can schedule a free meeting with a housing counselor (the first step in the mediation process) by calling a toll-free help line at 877-895-2444 (312-836-5222 TDD) or by filling out an online appointment request form. There is no charge to participate in the Cook County mediation program.

Will County Foreclosure Mediation

Homeowners in Will County who have been served a foreclosure summons receive a form explaining the mediation program along with the summons.

Eligibility for Will County Foreclosure Mediation

Anyone receiving a foreclosure summons for a residential mortgage foreclosure filed in the Will County Circuit Court after August 1, 2010 may participate in the program. Commercial foreclosures are not eligible.

The mediation program is free of charge for the borrowers. (An additional $150 fee is charged to the lender for every foreclosure filed in the county to cover the costs of the program.)

Steps in Mediation

Along with the foreclosure summons, borrowers are given a financial questionnaire. The questionnaire gives the mediator basic financial information, and the mediator then makes an initial determination about whether a loan modification is likely. If a loan modification is not likely, other options may be discussed at this time.

If there is a reasonable possibility that your lender might agree to a foreclosure alternative, the case will be continued (postponed) to a later date. This gives you time to fill out a loss mitigation application (an application for a foreclosure alternative) and provides time for the lender to evaluate your application. For more information, go to the Will County website.

Peoria County Foreclosure Mediation

Peoria county has a foreclosure mediation process. Go to the Peoria County website and click on "Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program Rules" for more information.

Madison/Bond County Foreclosure Mediation

Homeowners in the counties of Madison and Bond who have been served a foreclosure summons will receive a form explaining the mediation program along with the summons.

Eligibility for Madison/Bond County Foreclosure Mediation

Homeowners are eligible for this no-cost program if the property is their primary residence. Go to the Madison county website for more information.

McLean County Foreclosure Mediation

Homeowners in McLean County who have been served a foreclosure summons receive a form explaining the mediation program along with the summons.

Eligibility for McLean County Foreclosure Mediation

Residential properties are eligible for mediation. Foreclosure of non-residential or commercial property are not eligible for the program. Go to the McLean County website to get more information about the mediation program.

Lake County Foreclosure Mediation

In late 2013, Lake County launched a mediation program to help homeowners facing foreclosure. To be eligible for the program, a homeowner must be involved in a residential foreclosure case filed on or after December 2, 2013.

Notice of Mediation

Notices about the mediation program will be attached to the foreclosure summons.

How to Participate

Go to the Lake County website to get more information about the mediation program.

Boone and Winnebago County Foreclosure Mediation

The 17th Judicial Circuit Court set up and operates a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program in Boone and Winnebago counties.

Eligibility

Foreclosure mediation is available in residential foreclosure cases.

How to Participate

You must submit a completed application within 21 days of being served a foreclosure summons and complaint. Find out more about the Boone and Winnebago foreclosure mediation program here.

Kane County

Kane County has a free residential foreclosure mediation program. Learn more at the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit's website.

Should You Participate in the Foreclosure Mediation Programs?

Even though participating in a foreclosure mediation program does not guarantee that you can avoid foreclosure, it doesn't hurt to participate in the programs. No court action will be taken against you while the mediation process is ongoing and the lender may be more likely to agree to a nonforeclosure solution at a mediation than if you approach it outside of the program. Or you might qualify for a loss mitigation option that you hadn’t previously considered.

To find further information on foreclosure mediation programs in Illinois, visit www.IllinoisLegalAid.org.

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