The sheriff in Cook County, Illinois, is taking a stand. He has apparently become the first sheriff in a major metropolitan area to order his deputies to stop evicting people from their homes in foreclosure situations.
That’s because Sheriff Tom Dart says he has found they are frequently evicting unsuspecting renters. They have put tenants out on the street who were keeping up with their rent payments, and who had no idea that their landlord was not doing the same with their mortgage payments. Renters in many cases have not been told of the impending foreclosure by either their landlord, or the bank seeking the foreclosure, he says.
“We will no longer be party to something that’s so unjust,” Dart said at a press conference in Chicago yesterday, according to the Associated Press.
Illinois law requires that renters be notified their residence is in foreclosure and that they will be evicted in 120 days, but the sheriff told the Associated Press this law has routinely been ignored. As such, some tenants have gone off to work in the morning completely unaware that sheriff’s deputies would be arriving to remove their possessions from the property and leave them on the curb. Lately the sheriff's office has been handling 400 to 500 foreclosures in a month, and of those roughly one-third are rental properties and not owner-occupied properties, AP reported.
Earlier this week, a judge refused to issue a contempt order against Dart when his deputies did not enforce an eviction order because they had determined the property occupants were not the owners and had not been properly notified of the foreclosure. After that, Dart decided to impose the ban. Now, if banks want to get any help from the sheriff’s office for an eviction, they will have to present a court affidavit that proves the home’s occupant is either the property owner or has been properly notified of the foreclosure proceedings
“My job as sheriff is to follow court orders, absolutely,” Dart said to the AP. “But I’m also in charge of making sure justice is being done here and it is clear that justice is not being done here.”
I give this guy all the credit in the world for taking a stand for the little people who are getting barreled over in the foreclosure mess. If the lenders and landlords won’t do it, someone should. Would you do anything else in his place?
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