‘As is’ means family included

September 15, 2018

In a private auction, a Chicago woman last month bought a house “as is” on Kankakee’s South Osborn Avenue. She just didn’t know “as is” included a family already living there.

Fannie Mae, which sold it, probably wasn’t aware either.

On Aug. 15, Raphaela Pittner closed on the house. The title company recorded the transaction with the county recorder’s office six days later.

But Pittner quickly found she could not enter the property. A family lived inside, including a man who was the previous owner.

“I haven’t set one foot in there, and I’m paying the bill. It’s not fair,” Pittner said in an interview. “I have to go to court to access my own place.”

The man bought the house in 2005, but it was foreclosed in 2010. The man was able to reach an agreement to get the house back. By 2015, the house was foreclosed again.

The man was supposed to have left, but apparently stayed ever since.

Pittner filed a lawsuit against the previous owner, appearing in Kankakee County court twice the last couple weeks. Last Friday, a judge called a jury trial in the matter for Monday.

Before the trial, one of the man’s family members and Pittner spoke outside the courtroom door. The family member, fighting back tears, asked Pittner to let them stay until month’s end. Pittner said she would give two weeks.

When they entered the courtroom, the judge put Pittner on the witness stand. Pittner presented the deed and other documents showing her ownership.

Pittner was weeping as she spoke. She told the judge she was a “random person” who bought the house and had no connection to the previous owner.

“I just want my place,” Pittner said.

Judge Adrienne Albrecht filed an order requiring the Kankakee County sheriff to evict the family from the property by Thursday.

The last time the sheriff had contact with the house was April 18, when it attempted to serve papers. The sheriff’s office did not find the person it was trying to serve.

Pittner said the Osborn home would serve as an income-producing property for her. It will be her second in Kankakee, where she has friends.

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