• Feds Suing Chicago Over Controversial Ordinance

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is suing the city of Chicago over its ordinance making mortgage creditors liable for the upkeep of vacant properties, the Wall Street Journal reported on December 13, 2011. The city had revised the ordinance in November by dropping a provision that had defined creditors as property owners after lenders threatened to sue, but the changes were not enough to satisfy the FHFA.

    According to the journal, the agency said “the ordinance was unfair because it imposed all of the costs of ownership without any of the benefits, such as the right to sell or lease the property.” The lawsuit also says the ordinance oversteps federal law by subjecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to regulation that is the jurisdiction of the FHFA. The FHFA said that the $500 fee the ordinance requires mortgage owners to pay to register vacant properties and conduct monthly inspections of properties to determine if they are vacant “represents a tax” on Fannie and Freddie, according to the Journal.

    Nearly 1,900 vacant properties in Chicago are stuck in the foreclosure process at a cost of $36 million in upkeep costs borne by the city, according to an estimate from researchers at the nonprofit Woodstock Institute. Tom Feltner, vice president of the Woodstock Institute, told the Journal, “By in many cases ignoring these properties you’re doing a disservice to the community and a disservice to the investor.”

    What do you think of the Chicago ordinance? Do you think it will help either the people needing foreclosure help or the neighborhoods where the foreclosures are happening?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • As Foreclosures Take More Time To Complete, Is Time Running Out For Those Needing Help?

    The good news from Chicago nonprofit research and policy organization the Woodstock Institute is that the 3,604 properties that completed the foreclosure process in the six counties of the Chicago region for the second quarter of 2011 was a 27 percent decline from the first quarter and the fewest auctions in any period since the housing crisis began in 2007. However, Medill Reports also pointed out on October 25, 2011, that the average number of days spent in the foreclosure process increased to 359 days in the second quarter, a 25.5 percent increase from the same period in 2010 and the highest since 2008.

    The 8,515 foreclosure auctions in the first half of 2011 represents a 51 percent decline from the 17,331 during the first half of 2010, but Woodstock senior research and project associate Sarah Duda told Medill that a prolonged foreclosure process cuts both ways. “It means that vacant homes in foreclosure have more time to become blighted and destabilize neighborhoods,” Duda told Medill. “If a family is still in the home, however, the longer process could give them more time to negotiate a solution with their loan servicer.”

    Those seeking foreclosure help had a little more time to work with when “robo-signing” caused mortgage servicers to halt foreclosure filings. As Chicago aldermen explore the possibility of a separate court process for foreclosed properties to help cut into the backlog, it would be the families hoping to save their homes who might suffer.

    Are you facing foreclosure and searching for a way to keep your house? If you are struggling through hard times because of job loss, credit card debt or a mountain of medical bills, your first step toward financial recovery could be a bankruptcy means test . A Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help discharge your unsecured debt and either discharge or reorganize your secured debt. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help outline your options in dealing with a foreclosure. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Foreclosure Process Slowing Down, But Not Going Away

    The median number of days to resolve foreclosure cases rose 25.5 percent compared with a year ago in the Chicago area for the three months ended in June, the Chicago Tribune reported on September 22, 2011. A report released by the Woodstock Institute also dais processing times are up almost 51 percent compared with three years ago.

    During this year’s second quarter, it took a median 363 days to move a foreclosure case through the court system in Cook County, 390 days in Kane County and 307 days in McHenry County, the Tribune reported. While longer processing times and the lowest number of completed foreclosure auctions completed since the housing crisis began are giving homeowners more time to try and save their homes, the Tribune noted that the number of delinquent homeowners is again on the rise. State and federal investigation of mortgage servicers’ internal processes put a temporary hold on cases, but August also saw “a dramatic leap in new foreclosure filings” that will add to the backlog.

    Sarah Duda, a senior research and project associate at the Woodstock Institute, told the Tribune, “If the reason why auctions are down is that people’s homes are being saved, that’s really positive. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening.” Indeed, time is rarely on the side of homeowners facing foreclosure. If you need foreclosure help now, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can provide you with all the necessary Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy information you will need to help you save your home. Filing for bankruptcy can help you eliminate bills and stop foreclosure, but it is imperative that you contact our firm for a free consultation so we can help you get deserved relief today.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys