Rental Foreclosure. Tenant gets served summons and complaint for mortgage foreclosure. When to worry.


Jennifer L. Johnson: “Hi, my name is Jennifer Johnson, and I’m a partner here at Zanck, Coen, Wright and Saladin. I’ve been with the firm since 2005. I concentrate my area of practice in landlord/tenant law, real estate, general civil litigation, construction litigation, and I also handle some traffic offenses.

If a landlord is renting a property to a tenant, the tenant has a written lease, they’re in the property. Everything looks to be in good form, and then all of a sudden, the tenant gets served with a summons and a complaint for mortgage foreclosure. Lo and behold, the landlord was collecting the rent but not paying their mortgage.

Under those circumstances, of course, the tenant has no personal obligation to the bank for any amounts due that are under the mortgage that the landlord hasn’t paid. But the risk, of course, to the tenant is now they’ve got a property in foreclosure, which they have a written lease for, which they’ve been residing in and are established in quite honestly, and they have to figure out what they’re going to do.

Foreclosure Notice, HomeIf you’re a tenant in that situation, keep in mind that Illinois has certain laws in place to give you protections and timeframes so that a foreclosure doesn’t happen overnight. Generally speaking, with that point aside, foreclosures don’t happen overnight. Anytime a foreclosure is filed to get it to the end to final determination and final judgment, it often takes anytime from nine months to two to three years depending on the circumstances. It depends on if the property owner is participating. It depends on if the bank has followed the proper protocols that they have to under Illinois law.

So just because you get served a summons and a complaint because you’re an occupant of the property, and the bank is trying to take the property back through foreclosure. Don’t be alarmed that this is something that’s going to happen overnight. Most likely, you’ve got plenty of time to be able to get your affairs in order and decide what you’re going to do. If that were to happen, I would suggest that you try to contact your landlord and figure out what’s going on. Then perhaps begin the dialogue about breaking the lease, if it’s agreeable to both parties, and moving on to try to find a new place before you’re scrambling at the end, once the foreclosure is finalized.”

Jennifer L. Johnson can be reached at  (815) 459-8800 ext 652 and  [email protected]

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