Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law protecting Illinois renters in foreclosed multifamily properties. The new law requires those acquiring foreclosed residential property to honor existing leases or give tenants adequate time to make a safe move. This legislation is part of Governor Quinn's commitment to protecting Illinois families and helping them fight foreclosure.
"The foreclosure crisis has been devastating to homeowners as well as many families living in rental homes who are at risk of losing their home due to no fault of their own," Governor Quinn said. "As families in our communities continue to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, this law will ensure renters are protected from sudden forced moves that can be costly and disruptive to their lives."
Sponsored by State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 56 requires anyone who is acquiring residential property through a foreclosure to honor their tenants' existing leases or provide a minimum of 90 days for renters to secure new housing. Approximately 40 percent of families impacted by foreclosure are renters who may not be aware their landlord has failed to make mortgage payments.
"A consistent commitment to housing rights protects tenants as well as homeowners," Senator Collins said. "No one should be evicted on short notice and lose access to a safe place to live because of the financial circumstances of the landlord."
"As we strive to reduce poverty and crime in our communities, the foreclosure crisis threatens our efforts by unfairly uprooting families," Representative Cassidy said. "This new law will help strengthen the rights of tenants by allowing them to maintain a stable living condition, even though their rental property is in foreclosure."
The law extends, clarifies and strengthens key provisions of the federal Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act that is set to expire in 2014. The bill was strongly supported by the Heartland Alliance, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and other advocacy groups.
The new law takes effect in 90 days.
"Illinois remains one of the states hardest hit by foreclosure. This bill provides protections that will keep renters impacted by foreclosure in their homes and afford them enough time to make safe moves for themselves and their families," Jeremy Bergstrom of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law said.
"This bill is a major step forward. It will help ensure that renters living in foreclosed properties are not pushed into homelessness and that communities are not devastated by vacant properties," Samantha Tuttle, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Heartland Alliance said.
Since taking office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Governor Quinn has worked to keep Illinois families in their homes. To help families fight foreclosure, Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Hardest Hit Program in September 2011, an initiative which provides monthly mortgage payment assistance and reinstatement assistance to households that are struggling with income loss due to unemployment or underemployment. So far $201 million has been committed to more than 8,400 homeowners in 95 of the 102 counties in Illinois. Each month, the state approves 400 to 500 new families who can keep their homes.
In 2012, Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN), a one-stop comprehensive, free resource to connect struggling homeowners with assistance to keep them in their homes and help them from being victims of mortgage fraud. Approximately 846,000 families have accessed this free assistance through the IFPN.
Homeowners seeking assistance should visit the IFPN website at www.keepyourhomeillinois.org or call the hotline at 855-KEEP-411.