REALTORS® Monitor Vacant Property Issues in Elgin for Excessive Fees

Kristen JunglesThe Government Affairs Committee at the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley has been closely following the Vacant Property Ordinance in Elgin since it originated in June of 2010. What started as a simple request by residents to address the exterior conditions of vacant neighborhood properties quickly escalated into a vacant property ordinance that included both exterior and interior inspections, excessive inspection fees and language that, per IAR legal counsel, would make our REALTOR® members liable for the registration, fees and code improvements for their listed vacant properties!

Our local Government Affairs Team went to work.

Ron Ewing, Broker-Owner of RE/MAX Horizon in Elgin and chairman of the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley Government Affairs Committee, has been instrumental in influencing Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain and members of the city council to revise the definitions of the ordinance. “The new city ordinance will impact the real estate market in Elgin as a whole if we cannot close properties. Specifically if there are outstanding code violations due to city inspections, these violations will need to be paid prior to the transfer stamp being issued. REALTORS® needed to be at the table with local officials to impact a change to the Elgin ordinance,” said Ewing.

Ultimately, per the recommendations of local REALTORS®, members of the Elgin city council recently voted unanimously to amend the definition of “owner” in their ordinance to exclude REALTOR® members. Additionally, they amended the definition of “vacant building” to allow for properties that are currently undergoing construction and homes that are vacant due to deployed military personnel.

And while the most recent changes to the ordinance do not address the excessive fees associated with its implementation, there is some indication that members of the city council would be willing to address the ordinance again in the future. At the Elgin city council meeting in September, Councilwoman Anna Moeller indicated that, “if after a number of months it is causing an undue burden and it’s creating an unintended consequence where it’s actually hindering us from getting these houses on the market, then let’s reevaluate it.” Ewing further commented that, “The key to this ordinance succeeding now is to allow the closing to take place with open code violations that the buyer agrees to be responsible for and have properties inspected at a later date.” The REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley Government Affairs Team, with assistance from local REALTORS®, will continue to monitor the ordinance.

For more information, please contact Kristen Jungles at kjungles@iar.org

Kristen Jungles, Local Government Affairs Director, represents the Aurora Tri-County, DeKalb Area, Illini Valley, Fox Valley, and Sauk Valley Associations of REALTORS®

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