Can you guess the top 10 categories of 2016 Legal Hotline questions?

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Of the 2,504 questions submitted to the Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline in 2016 by members, three of the top 10 categories were related to license law in 2016.

“License law – scope,” or the “Do I need a license for this?” type of question, was first with a total of 286 questions submitted via email and phone calls. “License law – business practices,” or the “Is this something I can or should do in my business?” type of question, was fifth with 182 submitted. “License law – corporate structure,” or the “May I legally set up my entity or entities like this?” type of question, was ninth with 122.

Other categories in the top 10 included:

2) agency issues – 258,

3) advertising questions – 256,

4) contracts to purchase – 242,

6) escrow accounts – 151,

7) listing agreements – 147,

8) disclosure of physical defects questions – 140 and

10) fair housing – 113.

The hotline received 811 questions via email and 1,693 by phone, or an average of 209 a month.

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.


Should Illinois real estate brokers ‘freak out’ about California case?

A recent California Supreme Court decision involving square footage discrepancies of a luxury home includes both disclosure and dual agency issues, according to Illinois REALTORS® Legal Hotline Attorney Betsy Urbance in the January edition of Designated REALTOR® Legal News.

While Illinois brokers can take some comfort because of differences between state laws in California and Illinois, Urbance says there’s still a question of whether square footage is a materially adverse physical condition under Illinois law. Get a more detailed explanation of (Horiike v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company et al).

The latest edition of the electronic newsletter for managing brokers also provides: five legal case studies, Illinois real estate disciplinary actions, new laws for the new year, a state housing forecast, updated downloadable legal forms and RVOICE brochures, and a reminder about year-end record-keeping.

Read the details.

California case discussion just one part of December Legal Webinar


A November decision by the California Supreme Court purportedly about the law of agency was really a disclosure case related to square footage of a home, according to Legal Hotline Attorney Betsy Urbance and Transaction Helpline Attorney Jeff Baker at the Illinois REALTORS® Legal Webinar Thursday morning in Springfield.


Betsy Urbance

The case of Horiike v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company Services centered on the advertised living space and records that showed less square footage. A suit by Horiike contended that Coldwell Banker and the seller’s agent should have known or learned about the discrepancy and disclosed it. Although dismissed at trial as a nonsuit, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Horiike. The California Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals decision.

However, Urbance and Baker said this case should not cause association members to worry as the case was truly one about disclosure. The Illinois Real Estate License Act has the presumption of designated agency, which is different than the California agency laws and brokers in Illinois only have a duty to disclose material physical defects they are actually aware of. The real question in Illinois, they said, is whether a “defect” is a known latent physical defect in the property.


Jeff Baker

Horiike v. Coldwell Banker is just one of several cases discussed by the Illinois REALTORS® Legal Services team.

Other topics mentioned during the webinar included state and federal legislation scheduled to expire in late December or go into effect in January. Also the team talked about reviewing insurance coverages, updates to Illinois REALTORS® forms, record-keeping and answering questions from members.

For more information on this member-only benefit, REALTORS® can log in and download the webinar or listen to the audio-only version.


Don’t forget Legal Webinar tomorrow morning


Members can login at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 for the final Illinois REALTORS® Legal Webinar of 2016, “Recent Case Reviews, Legislation and Year-end Items.”

Join Illinois REALTORS® Legal Helpline Attorney Jeff Baker and Legal Hotline Attorney Betsy Urbance for this free, member-only benefit. Space is limited, so login and join the webinar promptly, either by WebEx or by phone.