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October 9th, 2008
04:32 PM ET

Sheriff: I will stop enforcing evictions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/09/art.foreclosure.jpg]
Azam Ahmed and Ofelia Casillas
Chicago Tribune reporters

As the nationwide mortgage crisis puts the squeeze on homeowners, the Cook County sheriff's office is on pace to evict more people than ever from foreclosed homes.

At least it was until Wednesday, when Sheriff Tom Dart announced he wouldn't do it anymore.

Dart cited the growing number of evictions that involve rent-paying tenants who suddenly learn their building is in foreclosure because the landlord neglected to pay the mortgage. By refusing to do any foreclosure-related evictions, the hope is that banks will change their policies.

As it happens, the decision also will spare from eviction those legitimately in foreclosure.

It is the latest, and perhaps most curious, government response to the soaring number of foreclosures. Even as federal bailouts and rescues are under way, the local action provoked a mixture of respect and confusion from housing advocates and banks.

Indeed, some mortgage experts suggested Dart's vow could compound problems by making lenders reluctant to extend credit at a time when loans are already hard to get.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Dreamer

    Kudos to Sheriff Tom Dart!

    My Dad was a policeman until I was 18 and I'd like to think he'd do the same. He felt it was his Duty to protect the PEOPLE and as we know some laws just don't make sense.

    All of this could've been solved with the Government using I "trickle up" instead of "trickle down". If they gave 1 million to every person 18 and over the cost would've been only 300 billion instead of 700 billion. They could've had vouchers to pay mortgages, credit cards, etc. to ensure those would be paid then give the person what's left of the million after that.

    But even better if we would go back to the gold standard and abolish the Federal reserve. Look it up people, it can be done without much disturbance to the economy. I think there's even a video on youtube of someone explaining how it can be done.

    The fiat money from privately owned central banks have helped to bring down every previous "empire" along with socialism. don't believe me? good research it yourself, then you'll see.

    October 10, 2008 at 6:40 am |
  2. Ellen Maggs

    The house of cards is falling. Hooray for the sheriff to show some compassion and realism. Milton Friedman economics are playing out, and the rich will get richer.....and the rest of us, well, with McCain, we're on our own. My only hope is that Obama will get in and bring some sanity back to our country.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:27 am |
  3. Joe Ayala

    Man oh man, am i more then glad about this. it's about time that someone has the courage and the guts to stand up and truly serve and protect the innocent.

    that is a good question, what about those who follow the rules and the laws? and someone tries to evict those whom did nothing wrong but their landlords abandoning their tenants?

    in time of crisis such as this, is when we do see the best and good of people. we need more people to do what is right, morally and not monetarily.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:51 am |
  4. Brandi-bottom of the boot

    kudos to the sheriff...what did the landlord do with the money if he didnt pay the mortgage? the tenants arent at fault.

    @larry,

    it is people like this sheriff who take a stand that they believe in which creates change in the laws that they enforce. there are many other laws on the books that are not enforced, granted they are outdated and silly for the most part. either way, this sheriff is very brave and has taken a stand and done something very admirable.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:15 am |
  5. Sara

    Larry, the Sheriff is to enforce the law, but the Banks have a responsibility too. They have a responsibility to notify the tenants and honor their leases. There deal was with the landlord. Larry this is not a political move for the Sheriff, and living there for 50 years of my life, there are rational people there that tries to make that county/city run with compassion, and fairness to all.

    October 10, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  6. Miland Brown

    The tide is turning against evicting renters when their landlords have failed to make payments.

    Hmm...

    I am behind in my mortgage and may lose my home. Can I rent my home for a fee to another home owner who is in danger of losing his/her home? Then I can rent their house from then for the same fee so both of us are living mortgage/rent free. Now we are both renters and should have the sympathy of the politicians and the sheriff too.

    Maybe eventually I will still lose my home. But in the meantime I can live for months (years) for free. God I love America.

    October 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  7. Basha

    Three cheers to someone who truly stands up for what is right! Let folks live on the streets of Chicago this winter – we need to fund spa retreats for AIG employees!

    October 9, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  8. D - Atlanta, GA

    GOD bless you Sheriff Dart. Finally, someone who is actually doing the right thing.

    October 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  9. Patrick

    Sorry, but this is a slippery slope situation. What next, the groceries or gas are too expensive, so we shouldn't have to pay for it?

    October 9, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  10. Megan Dresslar (Shoreline, Wa)

    Sheriff Tom Dart is right thing to do to stop or suspend all evictions their homes...... I know that they are not able to pay foreclosure for mortgages to bank..... I'm proud of Tom Dart what he did for them to poor people............. Congrats Tom! he is my hero! Thank you Tom.

    October 9, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  11. Kia from Los Angeles

    This is the kind of compassion and humanity that I look for when times get tough. At the risk of sounding "corny" I think Americans are going to start to looking at our government and the powers to be with a much wider lens, as we should have been for the past eight years.

    You guys, we have to start keeping these CEO's and elected officials in check. We pay their bills and their kids college funds. And when Obama gets elected, we still need to question his decisions too. That is what this country is about.

    Checks! Balances! and Freedom!

    October 9, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  12. Kurtis

    I am so glad to see somebody who is thinking more about the people he serves as an elected official than his next campaign slogan or the opions of greedy banks and slippery land lords. If I lived in Cook County I would definately vote for that guy.

    October 9, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  13. Debbie J

    In addition to my last comment- believe that requirement is 90 days.
    Most of those homes have had a Realtor assigned to them to sell and they keep the Mortgage Co aware of the situation. Most of the time they will try to work with the tenant especially if there are kids involved,
    at least the one I worked for as long as they are being reasonable.

    October 9, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  14. Debbie J

    Banks have certain laws they must abide by in ordering evictions on REO property. They must notify the tenant and give them so many days to evict, most states require at least 60. Most have their own set of rules such as they don't evict so many days prior to Christmas.
    In most instances it is a unfortunate situation but they are required to give amble notice.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  15. Kendall

    check out the conjones on this Sheriff, that's leadership in the fullest, a real maverick, stand up with one voice and say enough is enough, it's not their fault

    October 9, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  16. neal

    Tom Dart is a hero in my book. Thank god for men with power as he who actually care about people . I'm going to find out who's a member of the Illinois Bankers association, If one of the ceo's of any bank I have anything to do with is a part of that association, I will withdraw every penny of my money from their bank!!! Tom....U have my vote!!!!

    October 9, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  17. Susan

    Sheriff Dart for President.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  18. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    The Sheriff is doing the right thing and his job, serving the people. It's astonishing to think in Cook County alone, they are expecting 43,000 foreclosures. That is a lot of families to put out in the street. I just can't imagine how hard it would be to evict a family that for all practical purposes has been swindled by the greed of our financial systems. I'm glad stories like this are coming to our attention.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:12 pm |
  19. Scott

    Is it too late to run Sheriff Dart for president?

    October 9, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  20. robert

    This man sheriff Dart is a man who no matter which side he votes on is you have to respect. He is a man that knows times are very tough. He seems to have some compassion for the people of america. I just do not understand why anybody would be confused over how he is trying to help. Is this not the very esscents of what this great nation is all about. People helping poeple. I know there are banks and all envoled, yet Mr. Dart has risen above the isssues and understands that this whole mess is wrong. Why should people in this great nation be put out on the streets to die like dogs?. These people who have brought this on are not in trouble they have all our money. So, it will take acts like this one from every american to turn this nation around. Frist we go VOTE!!! Then you need to go help some where somehow this is how we as one nation will turn the tide.

    OBAMANOS AMERICA...

    October 9, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  21. Bret Peters

    Finally someone has taken a humanitarian stand. Winter is almost here, these families did nothing wrong and paid rent on time. How ever you look at it; the humanitarian thing to do, Christian thing to do, or political thing to do for the people you serve and who pays your salary. Wall street and the rest of the country need to take a serious lesson in this action. We are all Americans, neighbors, and human beings. It's about time we all started behaving that way. This is the type of leadership needed. I'm smiles for the first time in a month.

    October 9, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  22. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    If the landlord has failed to pay the mortgage on rental property, then why can't the bank who holds the mortgage on that property set up an escrow account for the tenants who want to stay and pay rent? That way the tenants do not need to face eviction, and the bank can possibly recoup some of the foreclosed mortgage money until a new buyer for the property is found.

    October 9, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  23. Larry

    I guess that as long as the tenants have leases and are paying their rents and the buildings are being maintained, etc. they should be able to stay. I wonder if the owner, to whom the rents are being paid, is keeping the rental payments or is returning them. Might be an actionable claim against the owner. Somewhat surprised that there are no predatory lawyers or folk protesting like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Roland Martin, Oprah, Barack, Mayor Daly, David Axelrod, Bill Ayers don't they live in Chicago?

    Do sheriffs make the law or enforce the law?

    October 9, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  24. Terra Hoskins

    Bravo. Maybe Congress will hear this.

    October 9, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  25. Wisdom

    Great...

    My scumbag neighbor who doesn't pay his bills.... trashes the house selling everything in it.... robs the bank do to the resale going after he quit taking care of it... and now he doesn't even have to leave...

    Great attitude... nice...

    But hey... it's all the banks fault right... gave a guy a loan... his paying it back as he said he would has nothing to do with it...

    Yea... personal responsibility is dead in America... time for the hand outs and free rides... Sad... very, very sad

    October 9, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  26. Donnat

    I hope this will have a ripple effect across the country. Illinois is really on fire this year, first Obama and now this fine man!

    October 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  27. Kasha

    I am proud of the sherriff because not only has he risked being raked throught the coals by the Atty Gen, but he has also put his job on the line.
    I also give him hi 5's because with the economy as it is we all would be smart to think about how this would make us feel of the shoe was on the other foot.
    Big ups Sherriff..Good job in standing up for what is right vs what is legal

    October 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  28. Ron

    Have any of you correlated the fall in the stock market to obama's lead in the polls. The politician that is going after the investor class pulls ahead in the polls and the market crashes! Humm!

    October 9, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  29. Cindy

    Good for sheriff Dart for saying enough is enough on these evictions. Especially when it comes to people who have paid their rent yet the landlord didn't pay their mortgage. There has to be a way to help these people stay in their apartments since they did no wrong. But unfortunately there probably isn't. And they will probably get someone else to evict the people.

    But on the ones who have houses and just didn't pay their mortgage, well that is a different story and they should be made to move.

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 9, 2008 at 4:44 pm |