Cook County Sheriff Suspends Foreclosure Evictions
October 22, 2010 • 10:02AM

On Wednesday, Illinois' Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced he is suspending all foreclosure evictions. Cook County includes Chicago.

The move comes as a result of the growing number of evictions that involve renters, most of whom are dutifully paying their rent every month, only to later learn that their landlord has fallen behind on mortgage payments and that the building has gone into foreclosure. While mortgage companies are supposed to conduct a basic due diligence investigation before requesting an eviction, identifying all occupants, sheriff's deputies are regularly finding no work done by the mortgage company in advance, leaving the identifying work to deputies working at taxpayer expense.

"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 not going to do their jobs for them anymore. We're just not going to evict innocent tenants. It stops today."

Elsewhere in the nation, judges are taking action. The New York Times reports that Frederick B. Tygart, a circuit court judge overseeing a foreclosure case in Duval County, Fla., recently ruled that agents representing Deutsche Bank relied on documents that "must have been counterfeited." He stopped the foreclosure. Another judge on Wednesday indicated that the courts would not simply sign off on the banks' documentation.