Last week, on August 21, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn approved Senate Bill 56, amending the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Act to require individuals acquiring foreclosed residential property to honor existing leases or provide tenants sufficient time to move. Advocates of the measure claim that it will help prevent homelessness and reduce the number of properties standing vacant.
The law, set to go into effect in 90 days, prohibits any party taking title to residential real estate through foreclosure from terminating a “bona fide” lease prior to the end of the lease term. The law also requires that termination of a lease be given 90 days prior to the expiration date or, in the case of month-to-month leases, upon 90 days notice. If, however, the title holder intends on making the premises his primary residence, he or she may terminate any lease by providing the tenant 90 days notice.
Democratic Senator Jacqueline Collins, who co-sponsored the bill with Representative Kelly Cassidy, commented, “A consistent commitment to housing rights protects tenants as well as homeowners. 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.”
According to Governor Quinn, “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…this law will ensure renters are protected from sudden forced moves that can be costly and disruptive to their lives.”
SB 56 marks another step in many jurisdictions’ movement towards providing greater rights to tenants affected by foreclosures. In June, the Chicago City Council approved a similar measure designed to protect renters of properties that have fallen into foreclosure. That legislation, entitled “Keep Chicago Renting”, requires that any individual or entity foreclosing on real estate must provide tenants the opportunity to enter into a rent-controlled lease or pay a “relocation assistance” fee.
According to a study by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, from 2009 to 2011, more than 50,000 rental units went into foreclosure in Chicago, comprising nine percent of Chicago’s entire rental housing. The study concluded that the loss of available properties has placed an increased strain an overburdened rental market, resulting in higher rates of homelessness and additional financial burdens to the City.
As this blog has mentioned before, both the Illinois and Chicago laws governing landlord-tenant relationships can be very complex and, although the provisions of these new measures favor tenants, it can be difficult to take advantage of such protections without knowledgeable legal counsel. Accordingly, it is almost always in the best interest of a tenant that has become embroiled in a dispute with his or her landlord to consult with an experienced Chicago tenants’ rights attorney.
If you have questions regarding the rights and obligations you have as a tenant or believe you have been the victim of the unfair practices of a landlord, contact the experienced real estate attorneys at The Slater Firm, Ltd. today.