Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac not subject to Chicago Vacant Building Ordinance

The Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) just won a case against the City of Chicago, a case which was filed nearly two years ago, right after the Chicago Vacant Building Ordinance took effect.

The FHFA argued that vacant foreclosed buildings with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages should not be subject to the Chicago Vacant Building Ordinance, claiming that the city acted outside of its jurisdiction in making laws applicable to federal agencies, and that the registration fee requir4d by the ordinance was essentially a tax on the federal government. 

While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own standards for the maintenance of vacant buildings, those standards are by no means as stringent as Chicago’s ordinance.  In Chicago alone, the FHFA owns nearly 260,000 mortgages.  Granted, not all of them are vacant or foreclosed, but the decision still has ramifications for Chicago, which is trying to get derelict properties under control.

Spurred on by its success, the FHFA is expected to file more such suits in other areas with vacant building ordinances.