Foreclosure And Social Policy


It would be a severe understatement for me to say everyone has an opinion on this mega foreclosure problem happening today. However, it wouldn’t be an understatement to say Sheriff Thomas Dart of Illinois actually expressed his opinion.

If you haven’t heard of him, use your friendly search engine and you’ll see many interesting articles. He decided he wasn’t going to process foreclosure evictions because he didn’t believe some renters in apartment buildings were receiving enough notice of the foreclosure.

He is quoted as saying, “Innocent tenants [will no longer]be victimized by an uncaring, reckless system.” He went further and imposed the requirement that banks must prove they informed tenants of a 120-day grace period as required by state law. This grace period allows tenants to find new housing before moving out.

Simple Solution To Complicated Problem

This seems like a simple solution to a complicated problem. After all, the forecloser is required to provide mandated notice requirements in any type of court action but some don’t always provide that notice to tenants. If I am correct, Illinois does not provide any type of exceptions to the notice requirement. Apparently the sheriff wasn’t provided with his copy of the notices.

I actually applaud the sheriff for taking a stand he thought would help what he termed victims. However, one has to ask if the foreclosure process was followed to the letter of the statutes, can the sheriff make the determination, based on social consciousness, that he will not follow the law as written?

If he can, then other sheriffs would be able to say something like the problem is simply too big to let continue and, they too, have to stop conducting foreclosure sales because too many people will be on the streets.

You can probably construct the logic stream that would follow so I won’t continue along that line. Rather, I’ll pose a question or two.

First, if Dart’s action actually happened in every jurisdiction in the U.S., would we have put a crink in the political/financial free-for-all called bailout?

Second, would that be fair to those of us who pay our mortgages on time?

Third, do we want social conscience to be our determinant in what laws are, or are not, followed?

Since the question stream can continue for pages, I’ll simply stop with three. I wrote the above scenario because those of us in the trenches should be aware that any type of policy can come at us from any quarter involved in the process. When it does, we are the ones affected and that affection is usually monetary in nature.

Also, this problem has left the old school thought theology rocking and reeling. What was once a known system with known procedures has been altered to an identifiable situation with maybe procedures. I am finding I have to test as I go. What was a sure fire submit package is now sometimes merely a baby step into the process.

I’d appreciate hearing what others are finding as they find properties, make offers and attempt to close their deals. Maybe I am off base and need an attitude adjustment.

Photo Credit: prestoncovillaud

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