D.R. Legal News

Current Issue: March 2015 (pdf)

.REALTOR Domain Now Available: Rules and Guidelines for Proper Use. This past fall, the National Association of REALTORS® launched the .REALTOR top-level domain for its members. For those of you unfamiliar with internet lexicon, an organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN is responsible for authorizing all of the top-level domains, or TLD’s for short that can be used in internet website addresses. The most common of TLD’s is “.com,” which is the familiar end to many popular websites. However, recently ICANN has begun approving new TLD’s, including TLD’s that represent specific organizations, like the Association. Read more.

Five legal case studies are covered in this issue. Read more

  1. Penalties exceeding $35 million imposed in illegal mortgage referral scheme.
  2. Real estate firms win against allegations of antitrust violations in fixing commissions.
  3. Employer’s definition of “under the influence” not adequate to discipline employee whose blood alcohol content was 0.053% at 11:30 in the morning.
  4. Condo Association obtains judgment against purchaser out of foreclosure for unpaid assessments prior to sale.
  5. Real estate firms using online system to maintain property records were sued for patent infringement.

Real Estate Disciplines. Among the recent disciplinary actions taken by the Real Estate Division of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR): 1) A real estate managing broker license was suspended for six months for contacting her tenant's lender, when she did not represent that tenant, to inquire about the status of the tenant's loan for a home mortgage. Also contacted the listing agent on a property her tenant was purchasing, when she did not represent that tenant, to make additional inquiries about the status of the tenant's home purchase. The respondent contacted the United States Post Office to stop her tenant's mail, without her tenant's permission or knowledge. 2) A real estate managing broker license was revoked and fined $5,000 and a real estate limited liability firm license and real estate branch office license was revoked for failure to return earnest money. Read more

IAR Legal Hotline #1 Question. For the fourth straight year, the top category represented in the IAR Legal Hotline call/email data was the scope of the real estate license law, in other words, what activities are governed by the real estate license law. The overall most popular question in that category for several years running had to be this one: Must I have a real estate license to engage in property management or rental activities? Read more.

Reverting from a Managing Broker License to a Broker License. The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) recently released a new form that will allow managing brokers to revert to a broker license. The form came in response to efforts by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® to gain clarity on a process for some of its members to revert from managing broker to a broker license. Read more.

Doing Business in Wisconsin? On Jan. 1, a new provision in Wisconsin’s real estate licensing law clarified the need for a Wisconsin license to list Wisconsin properties. However, the provision does allow for out-of-state licensees to cooperate with Wisconsin licensees under a statutorily required cooperative agreement. According to the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA), the law keeps Wisconsin brokers in charge of transactions but allows Illinois-licensed brokers to have a limited involvement in the selling or leasing process.  The association states that the law was passed because of the negative impacts out-of-state licensees were causing for clients and Wisconsin brokers.  Read more.

Unincorporated Cook County Zoning Use Certification Effective March 21. Effective on March 21, 2015, prior to the sale of any property in unincorporated Cook County (except condominium or coop units), the Seller must apply to the Cook County Building Commissioner for a Zoning Use Certificate.  The stated purpose of this new requirement is to help ensure that the parties in a real estate transaction have knowledge of the zoning and permitted use of the parcel in the transaction. Pursuant to the new Ordinance: “The owner or owner’s agent or attorney shall make application using a form from the Office of the Building Commissioner.” Read more.

RVOICE Involvement in Municipal Referenda this April. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) is planning to use RVOICE funds to do voter outreach on four municipal referenda on the April 7th General Election ballot. Two are Home Rule referenda — Broadview (Cook County) and McLean (McLean County). In the past, Home Rule units have enacted several ordinances on point-of-sale inspections and transfer fees/taxes, and a host of landlord regulations, just to name a few. In Midlothian, we are opposing a Real Estate Transfer Tax Referenda ($5 per $1000, paid by the seller). In Crestwood (Cook County), voters will consider a municipal sales tax. Since Crestwood is not Home Rule, it must seek voter approval to enact a sales tax. Local REALTORS® support the measure in order to help keep the property tax levy constant in future years and to fund infrastructure improvements in the village.  

Schedule a Visit from the IAR Member Outreach Team. Looking for a topic for your next office meeting or regional meeting? The IAR Member Outreach team is available to cover the latest legislative issues in play - local, state and national - as well as new laws, forms, RVOICE resources and RPAC. Call 1-800-752-3274 or IARaccess@iar.org

Online Only! D.R. Legal News and is published online only in a downloadable PDF format that is e-mailed to all IAR members who are the Designated REALTOR® (or D.R.) for their real estate office. Be sure to watch and open all e-mail from “IAR Communications” or the "Illinois Association of REALTORS."

The D.R. Legal News is e-mailed six times per year (January, March, May, July, September, November) to the Designated REALTOR® member of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. For reprint permission, contact iarnews@iar.org.

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