Illinois REALTOR® Magazine  | April 2013
By Mike Scobey | Assistant Director, Advocacy and Local Issues
The Illinois Association of REALTORS®’ (IAR) team of advocates has been playing a constructive role in the protection of real property rights. Local Government Affairs Directors (GADs) have been providing quality input on ideas for new laws at the local level. The RVOICE Program enables us to do this—with legal analyses, outreach to the public, and direct lobbying of local officials. Here are recent examples.
This past winter, IAR participated in a number of meetings of the Cook County Land Bank Advisory Committee (LBAC) which seeks a framework for a land bank in Cook County.
What is a Land Bank?
A land bank authority is a public entity granted specific powers, with the goal of facilitating the reuse and redevelopment of vacant and foreclosed properties. A land bank can provide the legal and administrative framework to acquire, redevelop and dispose vacant properties. The land bank is also capable of comprehensively looking at vacant land and adopting strategies for reuse that best fit community needs.
Through the RVOICE Program, IAR was able to raise questions which helped to shape the policies so they would not be detrimental to the private real estate market. For example, IAR was able to protect REALTOR® transactions and listing agreements, and no eminent domain will be used for acquisition in the ordinance that passed in January. Other IAR priorities will be handled during the rule-making process this spring. Chicago REALTOR® Sarah Ware will serve on the Land Bank Board.
Two years ago, the city of Rockford considered a proposal which would have required the licensure of owners of rental property. Typically these kinds of ordinances are highly regulatory of landlords (involving inspections, fees, mandatory attendance at “crime-free” classes, ability of the municipality to revoke licenses and shut down rental operations). GAD Conor Brown worked to guide the city in a different direction. What was eventually passed in January is a “Residential Quality Support” ordinance which requires landlord registration and the creation of a new housing board to deal with nuisance properties. This board will be comprised of a REALTOR®, a landlord, a neighborhood association representative, a tenant and a citizen at large. It will be an advisory board that will save the city from pursuing matters in the circuit court. There are no fees for registering the property and no mandated inspections.
REALTORS® oppose local ordinances which mandate fire sprinkler systems in newly constructed single-family homes. These proposals have a direct impact on housing affordability, consumer choice and private property rights.
Non-residential property can be targeted too. Some municipalities have considered a requirement for owners to install sprinklers when a renovation or rehab is proposed. This policy would have a serious impact on economic development. Property owners would have a difficult time selling or leasing because a prospective buyer or lessor will have to factor in this costly requirement.
Due to our efforts, the sprinkler requirement (in new homes) has been rejected in Naperville, Highland Park, Lincolnshire, Arlington Heights, Champaign and Huntley. Proposals are currently being considered in Oak Park, Rock Island and Moline.
New RVOICE Resource for you!
IAR recently revised the Property Management Guide for REALTORS®. This guide is intended to provide members of IAR with an overview and description of some of the principal laws and regulations that exist in the realm of residential rental property management. Members can download a copy.