Last November, the board of commissioners of ""Cook County, Illinois"":http://www.co.cook.il.us/portal/server.pt/community/home/223, passed a $3 million amendment to the county's budget in order to create a mortgage foreclosure[IMAGE] mediation program. The program, which applies to Cook County residential properties that are owner-occupied, single-family homes or individual condominium units and owner-occupied, residential properties with four units or less, officially launched on Monday.
Under the new initiative, all residential foreclosures filed on or after April 12, 2010 must file a revised mortgage foreclosure summons, which will include a notice to homeowners about the mortgage foreclosure mediation program. When filed, a 60-day initial case management conference will be scheduled for each residential foreclosure.
Prior to the conference, the mortgagor can call a housing hotline number to discuss options with a housing counselor. The mortgagor will then take the housing counselor's recommendations to the court on the conference date.
If the mortgagor does not appear to the scheduled conference, the plaintiff can proceed to move for default judgment. But if the mortgagor appears to the conference and there is no matter that requires litigation, a mediation order will be entered.
The mediation order will set two dates, including a three-week date for the parties to agree to a mediator, and a post-mediation status date scheduled for 90 days after the conference. This will put a stay on the foreclosure, and the plaintiff will not be able to proceed to judgment until mediation is complete.
Both the plaintiff and his or her attorney are required to be present at the mediation, and as of now, the court is anticipating allowing the mortgagee representative to appear telephonically. However, this request must be made prior to the mediation, and an order allowing the same must be entered.
At the post-mediation status date, the parties will advise the court of the results of the mediation. If mediation resolved the matter, an order to that effect will be entered, and the foreclosure will be dismissed. In the event of an unresolved mediation, the foreclosure will continue.