Home Illinois A woman is fighting to evict squatters from her Chicago home

A woman is fighting to evict squatters from her Chicago home


CHICAGO — Karen Polk decided it was time to sell her family’s home in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood. Her mother was no longer alive, and Polk now lived out of state. But as she prepared to sell the tidy bungalow, she says a squatter snuck in and refused to leave.

Polk is now fighting a long and expensive legal battle to strip the people of their property.

Observers say it’s a prime example of how loopholes in the law make it tough and time-consuming for homeowners in her position.

Aaron Stanton is a real estate attorney and partner at the Chicago law firm Burke, Warren, MacKay and Serritella.

“I wouldn’t say it’s common, but it happens more than you think,” Stanton said. “The problem is that anyone can print a rental agreement from the Internet. Fill it out. Enter the address. Sign the fake landlord.”

In Polk’s case, she says the people at her home told her they signed a lease and paid months’ rent in advance to a man who told them he owned the home.

Polk does not know if their story is true or part of a scam.

Despite this, people refuse to leave, even when Polk tries to evict them.

“It all started in September, but we didn’t get a court date until mid-December,” Polk said. “And none of the occupiers showed up at that meeting. That’s just how the process goes. If they do not appear, another court is appointed.”

WGN Investigates spoke with one of Polk’s home residents. The woman denied being a squatter and claimed that she herself had been cheated. However, she was unable to provide us with a copy of the lease she allegedly signed. Attempts to reach people she said could corroborate her story were unsuccessful.

Polk is optimistic that she will eventually get them to leave, but she knows it could be a long fight.

“It could take six months to 12 months, maybe 18 months if they know how to work the system and get delays in court,” Stanton said. “For now, they’re in your house.”


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