New Illinois law creates protections for renters impacted by foreclosures

Governor Quinn signed SB 56, the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA), into law last week. Illinois’ PTFA extends basic protections to renters living in buildings that go into foreclosure. 

Renters with existing leases may remain in their units for the remainder of the lease. Landlords must give renters living on month-to-month leases a minimum of 90 days notice before terminating the lease. The bill  sponsors were Sen. Jackie Collins in the Senate and Rep. Kelly Cassidy in the House. It passed out of the both chambers unanimously during the 2013 spring legislative session. The law will take effect Nov. 19.

Congress passed a federal PTFA  in 2009 and Illinois’ law mirrors many of the protections in the federal legislation. Originally set to expire in 2012, Congress extended the federal PTFA through December of 2014, but efforts to further extend protections have not been successful. While Illinois renters are currently protected by the federal law, SB 56 now ensures that those safeguards remain in place indefinitely for Illinois renters, regardless of whether Congress acts to extend the federal PTFA.

Woodstock’s first half 2013 foreclosure fact sheet shows that the number of foreclosure auctions in the Chicago six county region remains high and is often concentrated in areas with already high levels of long-term vacancies. The Illinois PTFA will combat additional vacancies by ensuring that renters in multi-unit auctioned properties are not evicted immediately, but can remain in their homes with adequate time to make alternative arrangements. These protections create stability for tenants and communities already plagued by vacant properties.

Woodstock Institute staff thank our partners at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Heartland Alliance for leading the campaign to pass Illinois’ PTFA. We will continue to advocate on behalf of tenants and homeowners who are struggling to recover from the effects of the housing crisis.  The Illinois PTFA moves Illinois one step in the right direction.