What Should I Do If My Tenant Stopped Paying Rent?

rent, Wheaton real estate lawyersIf you own and lease out residential or commercial real estate, it is almost a certainty that you will be forced to deal with tenants who pay their rent late. You may offer a grace period to help your tenants, but sooner or later, someone will fail to pay on time. As a landlord, there are few things you might wish to consider—and some things you must do—before initiating formal eviction proceedings.

Communicate With Your Tenant

Communication is the key to preventing misunderstandings and solving small problems before they become major issues. If your tenant has missed the window for on-time payments, reach out to him or her to find out what is going on. Send a text message, make a phone call, or stop by, especially if this is the first time this tenant had a problem.

During your conversation, try to determine if the tenant’s financial situation has changed. If he or she is concerned about no longer being able to afford to meet the rental obligations, considering offering to let the tenant out of the lease. Be sure that the tenant knows that he or she will only have a few days during which your offer is valid—say five to seven days. You might be surprised by how quickly your tenant comes up with the money to pay.

Send or Post a Demand Notice

Before you can begin the process of evicting your tenant, he or she must be given the opportunity to get caught up on the rent. To provide this opportunity, you must notify the tenant in writing of the total amount due. You must also give him or her at least five days to pay in full before you can consider the lease to be terminated. Once the lease is terminated, you can begin eviction proceedings.

It is up to you if you are willing to accept partial payments or a payment arrangement, but the law in Illinois gives you the right to terminate the lease if full payment is not made. If you are not willing to accept partial payments or arrangements, your demand notice should state that only full payment will keep the lease in effect.

Speak With a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney

If your tenant has failed to pay his or her rent, you will need to take some kind of action to protect your rights and your real estate investment. An experienced DuPage County real estate lawyer can help you handle any type of landlord-tenant dispute, including the non-payment of rent. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today.




What Is a Judicial Foreclosure?

foreclosure, Wheaton real estate lawyersIf own your home, you probably are familiar with the concept of foreclosure. You more than likely know that if you fall seriously behind on your monthly mortgage payments, your lender has the legal right to initiate proceedings through which the lender can seize your home. What you may not realize, however, is that foreclosure is a rather complicated series of steps and that Illinois law mandates that the court system must handle the foreclosure process. This means that every foreclosure in the state is known as a judicial foreclosure.

How Other States Handle Foreclosure

There are 16 states, including Illinois, which require the courts to oversee foreclosures. Five other states use judicial foreclosures almost exclusively—but as a customary practice rather than a legal requirement. Non-judicial proceedings are used in the 29 remaining states, either as just an option or because the law prohibits judicial foreclosures.

In situations where there is no requirement for judicial foreclosure, the mortgage contract will often include a provision that grants the “power of sale” to the lender. This provision effectively allows the lender to foreclose and seize the property without going through the court system. If the homeowner does not make the payments required by the mortgage agreement, power of sale gives the lender the authority to take the home and sell it in an effort to recover the remainder of the loan balance. In Illinois, a power of sale provision is not enforceable.

State or Federal Court

In most cases, a lender will begin a foreclosure by filing a complaint in the appropriate county court based on the location of the property. Lenders have the option, however, of filing foreclosures in federal court instead. Some believe that federal courts act more efficiently on foreclosures that state-level courts do, but others say that it is harder for lenders to sell properties in federal foreclosures. The U.S. Marshall Service handles federal foreclosure sales, while that responsibility at the state level usually falls on the county sheriff’s department.

How to Handle a Notice of Foreclosure

Assuming that you are least four months behind on your payments, you most likely have received a notice of default in the mail. However, when the lender files for foreclosure, you must be personally served with notice of the lender’s filing. You have 30 days in which to file a response to the complaint and summons or the court could enter a default judgment in favor of the lender.

The best thing you could possibly do in such a situation is to immediately call a qualified lawyer to talk about your options. Your strategy for moving forward will depend on your unique circumstances, and it is important to act quickly.

Call a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney for Help

If you are facing possible foreclosure, contact an experienced Wheaton residential foreclosure attorney at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team. We will help ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.





The Dangers of Fake Real Estate Listings and Rental Scams

scams, DuPage County real estate attorneysWhen you are going through the process of a finding a new home, it understandable that you might feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all of the details. Whether you are looking to buy a new house or just to rent for right now, you have probably spent hours trying to find a place that meets your needs and those of your family.

Sadly, it is all too common in the internet age for unsuspecting individuals who have been worn out by their search to fall prey to online scammers. Even homes listed by qualified real estate agents are often involved in such scams.

Beware of Out-of-State Landlords

A successful real estate agent in the neighboring state of Missouri recently reported that she has just barely prevented at least two scams in six months involving properties for which she was contracted to sell. In one instance, she received a call from prospective renters who were ready to send a deposit to someone in Texas, despite the property being in the north part of Kansas City, Missouri. Apparently, an online scammer had used pictures from the agent’s sales listing and posted the property as a rental on Craigslist. In the post, the scammer purported that she was frustrated with her real estate agent, so she was trying to rent out the property on her own. Fortunately, the would-be renters go a hold of the agent before sending the money to the scammer.

The agent, along with the Better Business Bureau, advises renters to be very careful when landlords are from outside the area. Of course, there are many perfectly legitimate landlords who own properties in many states, but most generally have property managers or other representatives available near their properties. If you cannot meet with someone or see the property in person because the landlord is out of state or outside the country, this could be a serious red flag. Any respectable landlord will understand your caution and will take steps to prove his or her legitimacy.

Too Good to Be True

Real estate experts also recommend trusting any instincts that you may have about a potential deal being too good to be true. Internet real estate sites, including sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, offer great deals, but if you come across a property that is offered well below market value, there is likely to be a reason. In some cases, the reason is that the listing is a scam.

When you are looking for a new place to live, there is no such thing as too many questions or too much verification. If you are uneasy about your interactions with the landlord, ask for references, and then call those references, especially if they are professional references. If the landlord can only give the names of friends or other tenants instead of contractors or business associates, you should probably continue your search elsewhere.

Work With a Wheaton Real Estate Attorney

The best way to protect yourself when buying or renting a home is to contact an experienced DuPage County real estate lawyer at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. We will help you analyze your situation and conduct a full review of the landlord, the property, and any proposed contracts. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation today.