REALTORS® rein in Zion’s nuisance property ordinance

Bigstock

The Illinois REALTORS® does not just advocate against transfer taxes and government pre-sale home inspections — we took the lead in reining in the city of Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance that was, among other things, targeting sexual assault and crime victims.

Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance authorizes city staff to contact property owners when two of 13 defined nuisance activities are found to have occurred within a 180 day period. If a property owner does not respond or a proposed plan of action is not mutually agreed upon, the property must be shut-down for a period of 30 to 180 days and all occupants, regardless of culpability, must immediately vacate the building and be subject to homelessness. Other penalties include civil fines and judicial remedy.

The Illinois REALTORS® has long maintained concerns with these types of ordinances that often penalize property owners for seeking police assistance – the police services they pay for. Echoing our concerns, the Sargent Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, writes, in their report, the Cost of Being “Crime Free”: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances, “these ordinances present numerous potential pitfalls that can cause serious harm to tenant households, landlords, and the community at large and expose municipalities to legal liability.”

Upon hearing of escalated and abusive enforcement, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe) Lake County Government Affairs Committee took the lead in investigating, and uncovered, among other concerns, that the city was violating its own policy by enforcing the ordinance even in cases of just one alleged nuisance instance and breaking Illinois law by enforcing the ordinance against the disabled and victims of domestic and sexual violence at risk.

According to a front page Lake County News-Sun story profiling our findings, Zion Mayor Al Hill says the city is now sending far fewer violation notices, no longer enforcing against crime victims, and violation notices now must have supervisory approval.

Illinois REALTORS® and MORe will continue to monitor this ordinance for continued abuse. To read the Lake County News-Sun’s story on Zion’s ordinance, click here; to read the Lake County News-Sun’s editorial calling the ordinance “misguided,” go here.

Video: Liddiard warns tax reforms could negatively affect property owners

Potential changes to tax reforms could weaken the opportunity for home owners to use the mortgage interest deduction and eliminate 1031 like-kind exchanges for commercial property owners, says NAR Senior Policy Representative Evan Liddiard in an Illinois REALTORS® video.

“When you raise that standard deduction, you get rid of all the other itemized deductions, particularly state and local tax deduction, it pretty much takes the bottom out of the MID (mortgage interest deduction) for 95 percent of the people,” Liddiard says.

Illinois REALTORS® Treasurer Dan Wagner and Liddiard emphasize the importance of like-kind exchanges. Wagner says Illinois REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® are keeping a close eye on developments. See the video.

Redesigned ‘The Consumer’s Guide to Real Estate Agency in Illinois’ now available to order

Place your orders now for the popular “The Consumer’s Guide to Real Estate Agency in Illinois” through the Illinois REALTORS® Store.

It’s been changed from a tri-fold brochure to an 8 1/2 by 11-inch, two-sided flyer with perforated cards at the bottom. Look for item #334. They are available in pads of 50 ($11 each), plus taxes, shipping and handling. The flyers discuss agency relationships in real estate transactions in accordance with the Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000. They supply consumers with explanations of various forms of agency when consumers are using real estate professionals to help them sell, buy and lease real estate.

If you are a broker and plan to distribute the flyers to sales associates, you can download them for free and print them at your convenience.

 

Video: REALTOR® tips for helping first-time home buyers in 2017


Join Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, President Elect Matt Difanis and Immediate Past President Mike Drews for advice about how members can best help first-time home buyers achieve the American Dream in 2017.

Low inventories in most areas of the state make it critical for clients to have their down payments ready and have their financing information in order. The more prepared they are for the process, the better opportunity they have to get the homes they want.

 

 

Help guide clients to IHDA assistance with underwater mortgages

Show your value to homeowners by sharing information about the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s I-Refi program.

I-Refi is designed to help borrowers who’ve kept up with their mortgage payments for at least 12 months but owe more than their home is worth because of declining property values in their community. Funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the program offers a forgivable loan of up to $50,000 to reduce the balance owed on a homeowner’s mortgage, erasing their negative equity and refinancing them into an affordable 30-year fixed rate IHDA mortgage. The program not only brings relief in the form of a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments, but it is the only solution available that actually wipes out a homeowner’s negative equity to bring his or her loan in line with the property’s current value.

A list of lenders is offered online, with websites for each. Before loans are approved, homeowners must order professional appraisals to assess the value of their homes.

Informational fliers are available in English and Spanish, with instructions for customization.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.idha.org/irefi or call 877-456-2656.