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The Associated Press

CHICAGO --
Residents of foreclosed properties in Chicago and other parts of Cook County don't have to worry about deputies forcing them out. Sheriff Tom Dart says that starting Thursday his office won't take part in evictions.
Dart says he's concerned that many of the people being evicted are renters who were unaware that their landlords have been failing to pay their mortgages. He says his deputies have no way of knowing whether they're removing someone who has defaulted on a loan or someone who has been faithfully paying rent.
Dart says he thinks he's the first sheriff in a major metropolitan area to stop such evictions during the ongoing foreclosure crisis.
Dart says the number of mortgage foreclosures in Cook County has skyrocketed and will probably keep rising.

Wire Service
 

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Sheriff to Resume Evictions

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart says his office will resume performing evictions in foreclosure cases on Monday, but with important new legal safeguards for tenants caught in the middle.
Both Dart and the Cook County Circuit Court made changes to the foreclosure eviction process after Dart halted evictions last week, citing concerns that innocent tenants were being evicted without knowing that their buildings were in foreclosure.
In a news release, Dart praised the response of Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird, presiding judge of the Chancery Division. Earlier this week, Kinnaird put in place a new form, now in all foreclosure courtrooms, under which judges will make specific findings as to whether tenants have received the notice of foreclosure and grace period required by law.
Dart also announced that he will hire a full-time social worker to work with his eviction unit to help those evicted find new housing and social services in the community. Also, a sheriff's office attorney will be assigned to the eviction unit to identify possible cases of mortgage fraud, and Dart will expand his financial crimes unit to include investigations into mortgage fraud.
"These changes provide the kinds of protection to which everyone is entitled and ensure all involved in the foreclosure process will receive the proper due process rights they deserve," Dart said. "We believe these steps, coupled with the changes in our office, will lead to a fair and just eviction process and further protect those in need."
Foreclosure filings have skyrocketed in recent years. Dart's office, which conducted 1,771 foreclosure evictions two years ago, is on pace to perform 4,500 this year, according to the sheriff.

story from: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
 
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