Going to court can be a very intimidating experience. Imagine finding yourself as a renter, paying your rent on time each month, and then being brought into eviction court because your building went into foreclosure! Do you have to move? When? What about your security deposit?
Many people believe that a person’s right to live in a rental property is contingent on the landlord continuing to own the property, or that when the landlord loses ownership of the building that the renters also lose their leases. In fact, this is not always the case. For renters, foreclosure does not mean “Get Out Now”!
Timely and accurate legal information can be crucial for renters. LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure team works to make people aware that renters may be able to stay, even if their landlord loses the property. LCBH shares this information with stakeholders throughout Illinois, hosting free renters’ rights workshops, distributing brochures, and referring renters to our helpline.
LCBH staff have been on the road throughout Illinois, providing brochures to Illinois Township Supervisors, meeting librarians and sharing resources at the Illinois Library Association annual conference, forging new partnerships, and strengthening current collaborations. Thanks to these visits, our Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline will now be included in the Peoria Landlord Tenant Handbook published by Housing Action Illinois.
An LCBH road trip would not be complete without visiting a few judges. Recently LCBH staff visited with and provided brochures to the Markham Courthouse law library and clerk, and Presiding Judge Jeffery W. O’Connor of the 14th Judicial Circuit in Rock Island. LCBH staff also met with the Presiding Judge of the Second Municipal District of Cook County, the Honorable Shelly Sutker–Dermer, eviction court Judge Ted Matchnik, and Law Librarian Festus Olaworetin to discuss our resources for renters facing eviction in a foreclosed building and provide brochures. Additional stops on the trip were made in north and northwest suburban Cook County communities, including Skokie, Palatine, Schaumburg, Niles and Des Plaines.
In collaboration with The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, LCBH staff presented a legal training, discussing the application of Illinois law in the face of the expiration of the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. LCBH staff also trained 43 members of the Southland Human Services Leadership Council in East Hazel Crest, educating social service professionals about the rights of renters in foreclosure and providing hundreds of brochures for their clients.
Where is LCBH traveling to next? LCBH will be hosting an information table at Second Congressional District Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s Annual Housing Expo to be held on Saturday, March 14, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at New Faith Baptist International Church, 25 S. Central Ave., Matteson, Illinois 60471. LCBH staff will be there to answer questions, provide renter foreclosure counseling, and distribute brochures. We hope to see you there!