Since federal protections for tenants in foreclosed properties are expiring next year, yesterday the governor signed a law extending federal protections for renters in foreclosed buildings in Illinois, Under the law, if you are renting in a building that has been foreclosed, you are entitled to the following protections: 1) The bank (or a receiver) that owns the foreclosed building, or any other person or entity that buys the building out of foreclosure, must honor your lease until it ends. 2) The bank or owner must give you at least 90 days’ written notice before asking you to leave. 3) If the new owner intends to move in, however, he or she can terminate your lease upon 90 days’ written notice. If you are otherwise honoring your lease and the new owner tries to evict you, you can fall back on these protections and file a case against your landlord.
It looks like 2013 might finally be the year that foreclosures start to decline. According to RealtyTrac, nationwide, lenders repossessed over 30% fewer homes last month than they did a year ago, in July of 2012. They also initiated foreclosure proceedings on nearly 40% less homes than they did in July 2012. If you look at how 2013 has gone so far, we have the fewest foreclosures this year since 2007. Of course, nearly 20% of all homes in the country that have a mortgage are still underwater. In a normal housing market, that number should not be more than 5%. And it’s interesting to note, though certainly not surprising, that many of those home loans were made during the real estate boom. But overall, it’s good news for the housing market. As foreclosures decline and get off the market, with any luck housing will start to thrive again!
The second installment of Cook County real estate taxes are due tomorrow. If you haven’t paid, you better get a move on. What’s that you say? You didn’t pay because the bill is wrong? They forgot your homeowner’s exemption? They forgot your senior exemption? They forgot your senior freeze? Wow, the county really did it this time, huh? Did you say you were going to have it fixed and then pay the bill? Is that right? Wrong. You need to pay the bill now. You can go back and “fight city hall”, or in this case, Cook County, later. You MUST pay the taxes first. If not, you will be assessed late fees and penalties starting on August 2nd. You will owe the late fees and penalties regardless of how wrong your bill was. Pay your taxes, and then go back and file a certificate of error for the missing exemption(s). … read more →
A new community-based foreclosure prevention and homeowner education project is starting in Chicago. It’s called Take Root, and it’s already operational in Milwaukee, Denver, and parts of Florida. Chicago is the next step. Take Root is a Freddie Mac sponsored program. Unlike many other foreclosure prevention programs, however, Take Root teams up with a local community organization, operating on the assumption that local residents might be more comfortable talking to a local organization, rather than the bank or an arm of the government. In Chicago, Freddie mac is working with the Chicago Urban League. Take Root does not offer money to participants. Rather, it educates homeowners in preventing foreclosure, and also in purchasing a new home. The program has been successful in other cities. For example, in its very first year in Milwaukee, Take Root helped more than 2,000 families avoid foreclosure. If you need help avoiding foreclosure or advice on purchasing a… read more →
If you own a home in Cook County that you don’t live in, but are claiming a homeowner’s exemption on your real estate taxes, it’s time to stop. If you own more than one residence in Cook County and are claiming more than one homeowner’s exemption, again — it’s time to stop. In the past, many people got away with taking multiple homeowner’s exemptions. If the county ever caught you, all they did was remove the exemption going forward. They did not penalize you. But not anymore. Under a new law, the Cook County Assessor’s office will fine property owners who claim multiple exemptions. Once the county notifies you that you are claiming too many exemptions, you will have 60 days to pay back the exemptions. If you do not, a lien will be placed against the properties you own that don’t qualify for the exemption. As time goes on, the penalties… read more →
Chicagoland suffered heavy storm damage in April of this year. As a result, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) extended flood recovery assistance to area homeowners. Homeowners may receive a grant or a low interest loan for lost property from FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA). The deadline to apply with FEMA passed a couple weeks back, but FEMA has now extended the deadline to July 24, 2013 That gives affected homeowners a few more weeks to apply. In order to apply, you will need your address, a list of everyone who lives in your home, description of the damage, your social security numbers, and your insurance information. The SBA’s filing deadline is actually February 10, 2014. Affected homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for lost real property, and up to $40,000 for lost personal property. Homeowners and renters will pay a low interest rate, amortized over 30 years,… read more →
Under state law, any seller of residential real estate must provide the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure to potential buyers. But the report, extensive as it is, does not cover everything. Buyers must be aware of that, and perform thorough inspections to satisfy themselves before moving forward with any purchase.As you will see in Kalkman v. Nedved, 2013 IL App (3d) 120800 (June 14, 2013) Knox Co. (McDADE), sometimes buyers learn this too late. The Kalkmans found a lakefront home they liked, and decided to purchase it. Their mold inspector discovered the presence of mold, but that issue was resolved between the parties. The home inspector noted a potential problem with the windows, but it appears that the parties did not deem it serious at the time.The buyers reviewed the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure, which stated, among other things, that the sellers had no knowledge of defects in the walls. … read more →
Cook County’s annual sale of delinquent property taxes is just six weeks away. What can you buy? Delinquent taxes from 2011. The sale is scheduled to begin on August 5. Although most real estate taxes get paid before the tax sale buyer ends up with the property, some tax sale buyers do get lucky and end up with a property at a bargain price,. If you owe taxes for 2011, and you don’t want your home to be sold at the tax sale, you need to go downtown to the Cook County Treasurer’s office at least one business day before the sale and pay the taxes. The treasurer’s office will only accept cash, cashier’s checks, money orders, or certified checks. The taxes can also be paid on the Cook County Treasurer’s website until July 26, 2013, or at any Chicagoland Chase Bank until August 1, 2013.
Following at least eleven other counties in Illinois, Lake County no longer allows non-lawyers to represent homeowners at the Tax Appeal Board level. Homeowners and property owners may represent themselves (assuming they are individuals and not entities), or they may engage a licensed attorney. Any other person or entity who appears shall be committing the unauthorized practice of law. However, real estate brokers, architects, accountants and appraisers may continue to serve as expert witnesses.
In Palm v 2800 Lake Shore Drive Condo Ass’n, 2013 IL 110505, the court determined that any home-rule municipality may enact its own regulations affecting condominiums, despite the existence of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Following a dispute with his condominium association in 1999, Mr. Palm requested the association’s financial records pursuant to Chicago law. Under Chicago law, a condominium owner need not provide a reason for his request; moreover, the association must provide all financial records within three business days. On the other hand, the Illinois Condominium Property Act requires condominium owners to submit a reason for the request, limits the request to the last ten years, and gives the association thirty days to produce the documents. At the end of the day, the condominium association in the Palm case challenged local law, and lost. The court ruled that home rule municipalities can govern condominiums as they choose, since… read more →