Cook County sheriff calls for halt to foreclosure evictions

With so many renters being forced to move because the landlord fell behind on the mortgage, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said his office has temporarily stopped evictions.

With so many renters being forced to move because the landlord fell behind on the mortgage, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said his office has temporarily stopped evictions. “These mortgage companies only see pieces of paper, not people, and don’t care who’s in the building,” Dart said. “They simply want their money and don’t care who gets hurt along the way. On top of it all, they want taxpayers to fund their investigative work for them. We’re just not going to evict innocent tenants.” But Dart quickly added that his office will still enforce court orders for evictions that are the result of renters not paying their rent. Foreclosure filings in Cook County have risen since 1999, and the number of foreclosure evictions has almost tripled in just two years. In 1999, there were 12,935 mortgage foreclosure cases filed in Cook County. But in 2006, there were 18,916 foreclosure filings, and last year 32,269 were filed. This year, Dart said he projects more than 43,000 to be filed. The eviction moratorium is good news for renter Roberta Thurman who is currently facing eviction after her landlord supposedly left the country, leaving the building’s tenants clueless. Thurman lives in south suburban Alsip and got together with the rest of the tenants to start paying the water and electric bills after they were disconnected. “We’re making it. I think there needs to be some sort of penalty for landlords who essentially abandon the property,” Thurman said. “I didn’t appreciate my landlord skipping out on me.” Dart added that renters of apartments and homes don’t know the financial condition the landlord has gotten into as they continue to pay their rent. “The people we’re interacting with are, many times, oblivious to the financial straits their landlord might be in,” he said. “They are the innocent victims here and they are the ones all of us must step up and find some way to protect.” ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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