Illinois REALTOR® Magazine  | January 2013
By Mike Scobey | Assistant Director, Advocacy and Local Issues
Aggressive work by IAR’s team of advocates resulted in several notable victories. Whether the issue was an effort to seize foreclosed properties through eminent domain in Chicago or working to streamline development rules in Springfield, RVOICE’s team of government affairs directors was hard at work for IAR’s members. Among notable efforts:
When Naperville officials started to update the city’s building codes, they considered a provision that would require fire sprinklers in new residential construction. After city officials heard objections and were presented with research about the hidden costs of the policy from Government Affairs Director (GAD) Kristen Jungles and local REALTORS®, the idea was dropped.
For 15 years the city of Evanston attempted to enact a tough new rental property license ordinance. The latest proposal contained several requirements that IAR opposed, including the city’s ability to rescind an owner’s license and force the landlord to immediately eject tenants, something that would be contrary to state law. While REALTORS® believe in strict building code enforcement, this provision clearly went too far. Other provisions regarding inspections and license fees made the proposal even more objectionable. GAD Howard Handler worked to mobilize REALTORS® and coordinated with a local landlord group to lobby members of the city council. The city council backtracked, and the measure has been indefinitely halted.
In the past, developers complained about the time it takes for municipalities to approve a proposed development (both residential and commercial). GADs Tom Joseph (in Will County) and Neil Malone (in Springfield) worked with local officials to change development review rules so there will be fewer delays, reversals and duplications in the process. As an example, in Will County’s recently revised zoning ordinance, there is a requirement for the county to respond to the developer within seven business days as to the completeness of the developer’s submission/paperwork.
GAD Brian Bernardoni worked to put members of a Chicago City Council committee on notice that REALTORS® were against any proposal that would use eminent domain to acquire mortgages on “underwater” properties. The concept has not surfaced again since the summer.
When city officials in Belleville proposed changing the existing annual rental property inspection requirement to every change in occupancy, GAD Kyle Anderson went to work to stop it. The city proposed adding a $60 inspection fee. REALTORS® and owners argued that an inspection at the time of tenant turnover is cumbersome for owners and can delay the start of leases and occupancy. The entire proposal was shelved.
Since 2006, IAR has dedicated the resources to employ nine government affairs staff whose primary responsibility is to monitor and lobby local governments throughout the entire state. These staff members are called Government Affairs Directors (GADs) and they are assigned geographic areas of the state. When issues that affect real estate come up in municipalities, they get involved. They are the team that is “Fighting For You.”
When GADs go to battle on these types of issues, they have a variety of resources they can use, including the following:
These resources are funded by the RVOICE Program. With REALTORS® and GADs acting as the Voice of Real Estate in Illinois, RVOICE is our megaphone. Learn more about the program, the resources you can use as well as other “GAD Battles.”