About Betsy Urbance, Director of Legal Services

Betsy Urbance is the Director of Legal Services for Illinois REALTORS®. She is an Associate in the Springfield law firm of Sorling Northrup. She answers the many questions that members have regarding their real estate activities and writes legal articles for association publications.

Managing brokers: Don’t risk unlicensed practice. Renew your entity license now

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More than 450 real estate businesses received email notices from Illinois REALTORS® urging them to renew their entity licenses (i.e. corporation, LLC, branch) and avoid unlicensed practice complaints.

Managing brokers need to complete a form and send it to IDFPR with a check including late fees by Monday. (Remember, there is no online option.) Licenses in “non-renewed” status must be restored by the deadline to avoid becoming listed as “inoperative” by the IDFPR.* Check your status here.

(* If your entity becomes inoperative, all sponsored licenses will also be considered inoperative. This is very important information. If your entity license status is up to date, you do not need to do anything further at this time.)

REALTORS® should protect their businesses when signing copyright agreements

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Take great care to review any agreements that you might be asked to sign when outsourcing services that assist you in your real estate brokerage business. It is especially important to be cautious when hiring someone else to provide work for you that is generally subject to copyright, such as property photos.

Also, if you have a website where third parties post information, including copyrighted works such as photos, you want to be exempt from copyright infringement charges under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In the video “Window to the Law: Changes to DMCA Safe Harbor,” NAR Associate Counsel Chloe Hecht explains a 2017 requirement for copyright agents.

NAR offers more information on the DMCA here that explains the new digital process for registration of copyright agents which could well apply to you in your real estate brokerage business.

Alert: About 1,400 corporate real estate licenses fall into non-renewed status.

Source: Bigstock

Is your corporate real estate license current?

If you aren’t sure, now is a good time to check.

That’s because Illinois REALTORS® has learned that as many as 1,400 corporate real estate licenses have fallen into non-renewed status with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The expiration date on the entity licenses was October 31, 2016. Illinois REALTORS® suspects that notification by electronic means as opposed to mailing paper notices may be the reason for the missed deadline.

Here’s why this is important: Any brokerage operating under a non-renewed entity license can be subjecting itself to certain serious consequences.

It is imperative that managing brokers check the current status of their entity license to be sure it is renewed.  If the entity license was not renewed, download the reinstatement form here and send it to IDFPR as quickly as possible, return receipt requested.  This can’t be done online.

Here is the department’s contact information if you have a question: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate, 320 West Washington St.. Springfield, IL 62786. Reach Real Estate Licensing at 800/560-6420.

Amendment to the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act

Source: Bigstock

You may have heard or read something recently about changes to the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, and wondered what this is all about.

But first, let’s discuss what it is not about. This amendment to existing Illinois statute, does not change anything in the FEDERAL law with regard to the disclosures and the pamphlet (Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home) familiar to real estate brokers when they are selling or renting residential property that was built before 1978. Those federally required lead based paint disclosures (the form and pamphlet) have been provided for sales and rentals of pre-1978 properties for many years and these requirements remain.

What has changed a bit, is the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (410 ILCS 45).  Specifically, Section 9.1 of that Act was amended as follows:  If a residential property owner has received a mitigation notice from the Illinois Department of Public Health stating that a lead hazard has been found and must be mitigated, the owner must provide this notice to a new buyer if the owner sells the property.  Likewise, the owner must provide this mitigation notice to a current tenant where the owner and tenant are renewing an existing lease.  However, the owner (existing or a new owner who purchases with notice of the lead hazard), will not be allowed to enter into a new lease for a residential unit unless and until the lead hazard has been mitigated.  These amendments to Section 9.1 of the Illinois Lead Poisoning Prevention Act became effective on Jan. 1, 2017.

It is important for Illinois REALTORS® to be aware of this amendment to Illinois law, but it is also important to understand that it is not a change to the existing federal requirements to make lead based paint disclosures for pre-1978 residential properties.


U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Texas ‘Disparate Impact’ Case

On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case entitled, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Community Project, Inc., et al., examining the question of whether “disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act….”(576 U.S.____(2015)). In other words, is it appropriate for the Court to consider claims alleging discrimination where a particular statute or regulation appears neutral on its face; but application appears to create an “after-the-fact” discriminatory effect or disparate impact on members of a protected class?

The Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 decision, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority, that disparate impact claims are appropriate for consideration by the courts, but that care should be taken when considering these types of cases so as not to impose “racial targets or quotas.” Click here to read the opinion.