According to an I-Team investigation by WLS-TV Chicago (ABC 7), the City of Chicago has issued tens of thousands of dollars in fines to people who are no longer property owners – including one going back to 1959. According to the report, Chicago’s Department of Finance said it can only bill people who are listed as owners on record. They told ABC7 this could happen if the owner has not followed up with a bank or new buyer to make sure the deed has been properly transferred and recorded.
Reportedly, according to state law, there is no requirement to record a deed in the State of Illinois. As of this report, the I-Team reached out to the Illinois Speaker of the House’s office but they have not heard anything back. Be sure to watch the report embedded below.
But what explains a property from well over 60 years ago?
“I just feel like I had nowhere to turn, like I’m stuck with it for life, until I’m long gone from here those properties will haunt my children, haunt my family,” Corita Sergeant said.
“Sergeant built an empire of rental properties until the financial collapse in 2008 forced her to sell some of them. She lost others to foreclosure, including one in Chicago’s Burnside neighborhood. She thought the home, now knocked down, was in her past but she’s been fined for weeds.”
“The party that’s to blame is right now our legislature and it stems from the fact that here in the state of Illinois, there’s no requirement to record a deed. So if you purchase a property, you do not have to record that deed with the Cook County Clerk’s Office,” said Reed [attorney for Corita Sergeant].