In May of this year, the Illinois Senate implemented changes to its procedural rules affecting foreclosures, 2023 Illinois Senate Bill No. 201.
Effective immediately, 2023 Illinois Senate Bill No. 201 amends the Mortgage Foreclosure Article of the Code of Civil Procedure. The measure requires a court file to be sealed upon the commencement of any foreclosure action during the COVID-19 emergency and economic recovery period. 2023 Illinois Senate Bill No. 201 provides that the amendatory Act applies to any action to foreclose a mortgage relating to (i) residential real estate, and (ii) real estate improved with a dwelling structure containing dwelling units for six or fewer families living independently of each other in which the mortgagor is a natural person landlord renting the dwelling units, even if the mortgagor does not occupy any of the dwelling units as the mortgagor's personal residence.
Specifically, Section 15-1503 of 2023 Illinois Senate Bill No. 201, entitled “Notice of Foreclosure” was amended to eliminate subsection (b) of that Section which previously required publishing of the notice of foreclosure with the local municipality or, if the foreclosed property was in an “unincorporated territory,” with the county where the property was located.
The Amendment also created Section 15-1515 entitled “COVID-19 emergency sealing of court file,” which affects foreclosures of residential real estate that were filed between March 9, 2020, and December 31, 2021 (defined as the “COVID-19 emergency and economic recovery period”).
The term “residential real estate” includes real estate that is improved with a single-family residence or residential condominium units or dwelling structures containing single family dwelling units for six or fewer families living independently of each other regardless of whether the mortgagor occupies any of the dwellings.
“The stress of a foreclosure is difficult enough, but to have that added on top of a global pandemic must have been unbearable,” said Illinois State Sen. Laura M. Murphy, one of the sponsors of 2023 Illinois Senate Bill No. 201. “It is my hope that by having the option to seal a foreclosure that should not have happened during the moratoria, a sense of stability and hope is returned to the hardworking families of Illinois who faced wrongful foreclosure.”
According to ATTOM, a property and real estate data platform, nearly 12,000 properties nationally had foreclosure filings in October 2020. In October 2021, one in every 1,923 homes in Illinois faced foreclosure. Chicago ranked fourth among cities with a population of at least 220,000 with one in every 2,284 homes facing foreclosure.
“Having the ability to seal these records will enable individuals who lost their homes, faced damaged credit scores and may face difficulty finding housing to secure a new and better future,” said Sen. Murphy. “We have a duty to the Illinoisans who should have been protected by the foreclosure moratoria.”