Illinois Appellate Court holds description of property as “single family residence” sufficient notification to the public

In U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n as Tr. for C-Bass Mortg. Loan Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006-CB2 v. Sharif, 2020 IL App (1st) 191013 (Sept. 17, 2020), the mortgagor appealed the order confirming a foreclosure sale contending that the notice of the sale was insufficient. The mortgagor complained that public notice of sale did not comply with section 15-1507(c)(1) of the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law (IMFL) which requires “public notice of the sale.” 735 ILCS 5/15-1507(c). According to the mortgagor, the description that the property was “improved with a single family residence” did not comply with the statute, as it was vague and “not descriptive.” The mortgagee should have described the property with the “actual description of the type and size of the home,” as that would have enticed more prospective buyers to bid on the property.

The mortgagee responded that the notice was adequate and even if there was an error, the error was not material so as to invalidate the legal effect of the notice. The trial court agreed with the mortgagee and was affirmed on appeal.

The Court noted that section 15-1507(c) of IMFL contains three requirements—a notice must contain a common description, a legal description of the property, and a description of any improvements. The mortgagor only challenged the notice on the basis that by describing the property simply as a “single family residence” was not a sufficient description of the improvements.

The Court found the description met the requirements of IMFL. It included a litany of information about the property, such as the case name and number, common address, legal description, and improvements on the real estate. “With this information, a prospective buyer can, at a minimum, (1) request to review the mortgage foreclosure case file at the clerk’s office, (2) visit the property for sale, (3) obtain information from the Cook County Assessor pertaining to the property, and (4) obtain information from the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.” The Court noted that section 15-1507(c)(1) also requires that the notice of sale include contact information to inquire about the real estate which means prospective buyers were able to obtain additional information about the condition of the property from the mortgagee itself. “It is clear from the plain language of section 15-1507(c)(1) that the legislature’s intent in creating these requirements for the notice of sale was to provide enough information to prospective buyers so that they can perform their due diligence prior to bidding on the property.” In researching this issue, the Court actually visited the assessor’s website and after typing in the common property address, discovered a photograph of the property, the square footage of the land and building, the age of the home, as well as other specific details about the property. “The information provided on the publicly available assessor’s website is significantly more detailed than the information defendant suggests should have been included in the notice of sale. The fact this level of detail is readily available and easily searchable supports our conclusion that the information included in the notice of sale here was sufficient.”

The Court also held that even if there was a defect in the notice of sale, IMFL requires the mortgagee to also demonstrate good cause to have the sale invalidated. An immaterial error in the description was not good cause. “Using the information provided in the notice, prospective buyers would have been able to perform their due diligence in researching the property prior to bidding at a judicial sale.” In addition, the mortgagor had no evidence that the sales price was grossly inadequate. The Court relied on caselaw where there was no evidence that the sales price was grossly inadequate the mortgagor had not established good cause to set aside a sale based on a defective notice.


  • James Noonan

    Jim is a founding partner of Noonan & Lieberman. Jim has more than 25 years of experience in civil litigation on behalf of creditors, servicers, business and real estate owners.

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