Bradley rescinds ordinance after 6-plus years

Filling Glass Of Tap Water

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The village of Bradley (Kankakee County, pop. 16,000) repealed a “water certificate” ordinance that KIFAR and IAR’s local government affairs team have opposed since before it took effect in July 2009.

The ordinance was originally created and approved by the Bradley village board as a means to collect outstanding water and sewer bills. In return for making full payments, property owners would get “water certificates” for transfer of property.

IAR local Government Affairs Director Tom Joseph gave five reasons REALTORS® opposed the ordinance in the non-home-rule municipality:

  1. Non-home-rule municipalities must follow Illinois law for collection of water and sewer charges.
  2. The village told the Kankakee County recorder of deeds not to allow transfers without village certificates of approval.
  3. The village told title companies not to allow transfers without village certificate approvals. (The recorder of deeds and title companies are governed by the Illinois General Assembly not municipal governments, which created conflict with this ordinance.)
  4. Without home-rule and the approval of a real estate transfer tax by residents via referendum, Bradley was not authorized to use this certificate.
  5. The village was holding up real estate transfers unless billing was paid in full or future prorated billing was paid in advance at transfer.

GAD battles

“Due to our R-VOICE program and consistent review by our local government affairs program, our advocacy won out and the ordinance was repealed in late October,” says Joseph, who noted that a real estate transfer was held up earlier this year by the ordinance. “There is nothing more professionally satisfying than when a village rescinds an ordinance due to our advocacy.

“I’d like to extend special thanks to KIFAR leadership, IAR counsel, Sorling Northrup Attorneys and our local government affairs program for not allowing bad public policy to continue,” he said. “And lastly, I’d like to thank the village of Bradley for doing the right thing.”

Short-term rental bans become growing issue for local associations

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With a growing number of communities seeking to ban or limit short-term property rentals for services like Airbnb or Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO), local associations and their government affairs directors are working harder to stay on top of these types of situations.

Take, for example, the efforts of the North Shore-Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR) and local IAR GAD Howard Handler, who says the issue is not new to his area but it is becoming a “hot topic.”

Handler says the question caused debate several years ago in the city of Evanston, just north of Chicago. There, an ordinance was passed in June 2013 requiring owners to obtain a special license for short-term rentals. NSBAR was neutral on the license issue, but won exceptions for disasters, renovations and rent-backs (when owners sell their home but are unable to move out by the closing date and need to temporarily rent the home back from the new owners). It even won a provision that lets all owners rent their property once a year without a license.

Examples of situations like Evanston’s are described in the Oct. 20 NAR story, “The Next Property Rights Frontier,” by Carolyn Schwaar.

“We took the position that we were not there to advocate for those running quasi-hotels and remained neutral on the final ordinance, but we did want to ensure the average property owner maintains the right to rent their property on a short-term basis,” Handler was quoted.

The article also cites the numbers of properties listed with Airbnb, the subject of taxes that owners may have to pay on revenue from short-term rentals. It offers guidance to associations in a white paper, but does not take an official stance on short-term rentals. Read the entire article and find out why.

Get municipal property inspection information

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Find out the residential property inspection requirements in communities near you by referring to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®’ municipal requirements list for more than 150 Illinois municipalities.

With owner-occupied single-family homes, the inspection is usually done at the “point of sale,” which means the owner/seller must notify the municipality of the upcoming transfer.  That notification is followed by an inspection done by a municipal staff member, usually before the closing, with the seller typically paying for the repairs.  The inspector looks for building code violations.

Also, several municipalities inspect rental properties, either when there is a change of occupancy or on a regular basis (e.g. once every two or three years). Check the list for that information too.

Illinois REALTORS® can use the IAR list to see what nearby communities require for inspections:

We hope you find this list useful as you work with sellers and prep them for transfer of their properties.

IAR Advocacy and inspection ordinances
The IAR advocates for the inclusion of fair and reasonable inspection standards and procedures.  For example, IAR lobbies for:

  • Reasonable inspection fees.  Fee revenue should reflect the cost of the inspection program and not be a general revenue-raiser.
  • Inspection checklist.  This helps to ensure that the owner will know exactly what the municipality is inspecting for.
  • Adherence to health and safety standards.  Municipalities should not be requiring cosmetic repairs or upgrades.
  • Escrow provision.  With a municipality’s “point-of-sale” home inspection requirement, IAR lobbies for an escrow provision whereby, if the two parties agree, the buyer can make the required repairs to the property after the closing. The buyer would provide to the municipality an escrow to ensure that the repair work is done in a reasonable amount of time after closing and occupancy. IAR always lobbies for an escrow amount that is not excessive.

REALTORS® notice deadline for SB 1380 extended to July 31

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For the second time in about a month, the Illinois House has extended the deadline for consideration of Senate Bill 1380. This time, the deadline is July 31.

According to today’s IAR State Capitol Report, the bill amends two sections of the Municipal Code primarily dealing with the lien that a municipality files for costs incurred for removing weeds/grass, trees/bushes, pests, garbage, debris and graffiti. It seeks to make a change to allow municipalities to skip foreclosure proceedings on the lien on the offending property and obtain a judgment lien against all real estate of the owner.

IAR has opposed the bill throughout the spring session of the General Assembly because it does not believe it should be easier to create impairments on the rights of property owners on non-offending properties.  The bill was narrowly approved in the Senate only after a parliamentary procedure allowed a second vote following an initial defeat. In late May, the deadline was extended to June 30.

In addition, find out what the State Capitol Report says about legislation concerning:

  • state budget bills rejected and signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner;
  • township water and sewer rates;
  • property tax caps; and
  • a statewide advertising tax.

IAR, local associations ready to help latest Illinois tornado victims

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While local REALTOR® associations work with community leaders to find the best ways to help this week’s tornado victims in communities like Coal City, Sublette and Mendota, IAR members and non-members can also contribute to the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation (IRRF).

According to the National Weather Service, nine tornadoes hit northern Illinois communities as storms raked across the state Monday evening and early Tuesday morning.  Numerous minor injuries and power outages were reported, but no deaths. The largest tornado was an EF-3 in Coal City (Grundy County) with winds of 136 to 165 miles per hour, reported ABC-7 Eyewitness News. An EF-2 tornado struck a campground in Sublette (Lee County) causing extensive damage, while an EF-1 hit south of Mendota (LaSalle County).  On Tuesday, Governor Bruce Rauner declared Grundy and Lee counties as disaster areas.

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TRAR members helping in Coal City area

Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® Chief Executive Officer David McClintock says individual members of the local association have already volunteered during Coal City clean-up efforts. Coal City resident and REALTOR® Andy Cook of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Morris told McClintock the expected number of volunteers for Friday will be “significant.” REALTOR® Debbie Bell of Baird & Warner in Plainfield spent a day helping a Morris attorney whose house took on water. McClintock adds that he will deliver a donation to the Community Foundation of Grundy County on behalf of TRAR for $1,000 today.

“Later next week, we will consider other forms of gifts based on a report from our members of what’s still needed,” says McClintock.

As more information on local tornado relief efforts becomes available, IAR will share it here.

Several ways for all to help

IRRF, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established by IAR last year to help Illinois residents living in communities affected by natural disasters. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online or via mail: IRRF, 522 S. Fifth St., Springfield, IL 62701. Victims can apply for $500 in assistance on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, the NAR offers the REALTORS® Relief Foundation offers housing-related assistance to victims of disasters. You can donate to it online or by mail (REALTORS® Relief Foundation, c/o NAR, 430 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611).