REALTORS® and Illinois’ new concealed carry law

IAR Chief Legal Counsel Steve Bochenek

Earlier this year, Illinois became the final state to pass a Firearm Concealed Carry Act. In a recent D.R. Legal News article, Illinois Association of REALTORS® Chief Legal Counsel Steve Bochenek covered what Illinois REALTORS® need to know in terms of the new law and how it may impact their brokerage offices.

From his article:

The concealed carry law in Illinois is already in effect but the right to carry concealed firearms was delayed to allow the Illinois State Police six months to adopt rules and to allow for training and obtaining permits for concealed carry. There are issues that you will need to consider in connection with this new legislation. One consideration for you in the operation of your business is whether you will allow concealed carry in your office or offices. The statute is clear that if you own the property in which your office is located that you can prohibit concealed carry in your office. It is not clear from the statute that a lessee can prohibit concealed carry within their office.

If you are a lessee of the building in which your office is located and want to prohibit concealed carry you should post the required signage at the entrance to your building or office space. If someone wants to question your authority to post such a sign that would be an issue that would then need to be dealt with at a later date. Also, you may want to have a discussion with your sponsored licensees as regards their discussing this issue with the owners of properties listed with your company.

The question will be whether the owner prohibits or allows concealed carry on the property they own. A form of sign has been published which indicates that an owner of property does not permit concealed carry on their property. Although residential owners do not need to post such a sign they may choose to do so just to inform third parties that you may be showing through the property. Also, you may want to consider including a note or a comment on the multiple listing service information indicating whether concealed carry is permitted.

Illinois State Police Concealed Carry FAQ | Concealed Carry Prohibited Area Sign

IAR Legal Webinar: E&O Insurance…What is Covered…Or Not?

Illinois REALTORS®, mark your calendars for this Thursday’s Illinois Association of REALTORS® legal webinar with IAR Chief Legal Counsel Steve Bochenek and Legal Hotline Attorney Betsy Urbance. During the one-hour webinar that begins at 9:30 a.m., they will discuss risk management and what brokers’ errors and omissions insurance policies cover…and some of the things that are typically not covered.

Space for the webinar will be limited; so please join the webinar promptly. If you are unable to join us live, the presentation will be available in its entirety within 48 hours at http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/legal/webinars. REMINDER: IAR Legal webinars are for members only so you will be required to log in.

 

REALTORS® Committed to Fair Housing

REALTORS® build communities and believe people have a right to live wherever they can afford to live. This month marks the 45th anniversary of the 1968 landmark Fair Housing Act. Each year REALTORS® recognize the significance of this event and reconfirm their commitment to upholding fair housing law as well as their commitment to offering equal professional service to all in their search for real property.

Fair housing is a serious matter.

It is extremely important for licensees to be aware of local ordinances as well as federal and state fair housing laws. IAR Legal Hotline Attorney Betsy Urbance answers one fair housing-related question in the April issue of Illinois REALTOR® magazine. She also points out NEW fair housing rules relating to “disparate impact” or “discriminatory effect.” These rules became effective on or around March 17, 2013. The rules were drafted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to give landlords and tenants a clearer picture of what could constitute illegal discrimination in housing when there is a “disparate impact” or “discriminatory effect” even if the initial limitation is facially neutral. There does not have to be an intent to discriminate to violate the rules. Read more online: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=discriminatoryeffectrule.pdf and members can download the IAR Legal Webinar on this topic.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® fully supports and advocates the practice of equal opportunity in fair housing. It is our pledge to uphold the spirit as well as the letter of the law, through programs, activities and training designed to promote and further the right of equal opportunity in housing for all. We believe equal opportunity exists only where there is complete freedom of choice in housing and we oppose any attempt to interfere with this freedom of choice.

With new members of Congress comes new Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs)

This week the new Federal Political Coordinators for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, along with other policy and political leadership, attended the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) Annual REALTOR® Party Policy & Advocacy Conference and Training in Washington, D.C.  They were met with detailed agendas and presentations on everything from the current political climate and predictions of what will become priority issues in the 113th Congress, to detailed discussions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the future of conventional housing finance.

The Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs) who attended will work with the newly-elected members of Congress on issues that are priority for both NAR and the IAR. Illinois REALTOR® members, Bob Dohn, Cedrick Hunter, Tracey Taylor, Jeff Gregory and Matt Silver spent the first day learning what the key role of the FPC is and NAR expectations. They represent Congresspersons Tammy Duckworth, Danny Davis, Bobby Rush, Bill Foster and Brad Schneider respectively. They will play a key role in educating the members of Congress on the implications and impacts of legislation on real estate and property owners of all types.

IAR Fighting For You

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The IAR and NAR housing and finance policy team had the opportunity to meet with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan this week in Washington, including NAR staff Lora McCray; Illinois REALTORS® Mabel Guzman and Kay Wirth, leaders of the NAR Conventional Finance committee; IAR Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell and NAR's Charlie Dawson.


Wednesday’s agenda was packed with several experts in housing finance including academics, economists, Congressional staff and analysts who shared their thoughts and points to consider as the country moves forward and the real estate markets continue to slowly heal. Comments were made regarding the future of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), servicer issues related to short sales and foreclosure, HUD condominium problems, the Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rules in addition to capital markets and liquidity that affects both commercial and residential real estate.

These meetings helped prepare the FPCs, Political Action Committee Trustees, Policy Committee leaders and other attendees for the new legislative cycle and what resources are available from NAR. REALTOR® Party programs were explained and key NAR staff were on hand to present and answer questions on what the program includes.

Also present in D.C. were IAR members who serve in a variety of leadership capacities in NAR policy and advocacy including; John C. Kmiecik, Mike Drews, Chris Tenggren, Mike Onorato, Steve Volkadov, Mabel Guzman, Kay Wirth, Ed Neaves, Jean Crosby and IAR President Michael D. Oldenettel and IAR CEO Gary Clayton.

REALTOR® advocacy squashes fast track pace; more equitable bedbug ordinance sought in Chicago

Agreed: Bedbugs bad.

Less clear, how to craft a fair policy that addresses the problem in  Chicago that won’t hurt REALTORS®, property owners and tenants.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS®’ Brian Bernardoni testified Tuesday before a Chicago City Council joint committee as part of discussion of a proposed $1,000-a-day penalty for landlords who fail to eliminate bedbugs. From the Chicago Tribune:

“Bedbugs are a serious problem, regardless of economic stature, and the city of Chicago has the authority to declare a public nuisance and regulate it. The issue must be addressed head on.”

Bernardoni told members of the panel that bedbugs were indeed an issue, but raised concerns over unintended consequences the ordinance might create. In his testimony, he noted:

  • The ordinance would be effective 10 days after passage. This is an issue because there is no exemption for existing leases, and no phase-in provision.
  • Tenants could bring bedbugs into a dwelling without realizing they are doing so, particularly in the case of purchases of used or reconditioned mattresses.
  • What happens if a tenant does not alert a landlord of an infestation? Would the landlord be on the hook for the fines, even if he/she wasn’t aware of the problem?

Could tenants be unfairly evicted? If an apartment’s infestation spreads, would others in adjacent apartments be subject eviction? Would landlords use the rule as a means to target people they don’t like? Said Bernardoni in a WLS-TV 7 story:

“Realtors have a code of ethics. This is not the type of behavior that’s accepted. If tenants feel (they have) those problems, there are a number of organizations that represent those individuals and we are more than happy to go after bad actors within our industry.”

Bedbugs are particularly difficult to eradicate and as a result, the treatments are expensive. According to the WLS-TV 7, “Bedbugs have become so prevalent in Chicago that Orkin Pest Control announced they did more business in the Windy City in 2012 than in any other city.”

Bernardoni told IAR Buzz that often it’s not just one unit that would have to be cleansed of the pests if they are found, but all the adjacent units and perhaps even the units above and below the infected unit would have to be treated, too. According to a FOX News article, killing off bedbugs can cost anywhere from $400 to thousands of dollars.

The proposed ordinance did not come up for a vote on Tuesday. Bernardoni said the next step is to work on provisions to address the many questions raised by the ordinance.