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Vacant and Abandoned, housing crisis lives on in homes it has emptied


harvey blight

7322 South Laflin is a brick, two-story apartment building with broken windows and an unlocked front door. It wouldn’t look inhabited save for a few bottles of shampoo visible in one of the windows of the upper floor. It completed foreclosure in June of last year, when, like most foreclosures, it was sold back to the mortgage lender, Selene Finance LP.

A woman who lives nearby says that people still live there (“squatters’ rights”). After the housing crisis, says the woman (she declined to give her name), “people had no place to go so they moved in wherever they could get.” She points to a bullet hole in the basement window just left of the front door.

“Poor people had nothing and they took all their (explicative).”

“They”—in this case, Selene Finance LP—still haven’t claimed official ownership of the property. That’s because after the auction that completes the foreclosure process, it is incumbent on the new owner of the property to file the deed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. At the vast majority of foreclosure auctions in Cook County there are no buyers, and the properties go back into the hands of the mortgage lender. But it is not in the lender’s interest to claim ownership of the property until it wants to make a sale. As long as the deed goes unrecorded, the lender that owns the building can avoid property taxes, vacant building regulations and fees, utilities bills, and essentially all accountability for the property…Please click here to read  John Gamino’s full story in the South Side Weekly.

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