Buying a Foreclosed Rental Property in Chicago? Think Twice!

Web Admin - Friday, April 22, 2016

foreclosed rental property, Illinois Real Estate Lawyers During the Great Recession, and the slow recovery thereafter, thousands of property foreclosures occurred across the country. Some individuals who were most affected by these foreclosures were renters living in a home or other dwelling where the landlord's property was foreclosed. 

In response to the harm that renters were suffering in Chicago, the Windy City specifically enacted an ordinance to help protect renters from foreclosure on properties located in the City of Chicago. 

The Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance was specifically crafted to help protect renters from foreclosures, and placed substantial obligations on landlords/property owners. However, anyone who is considering buying a foreclosed rental property in Chicago should be advised of these obligations under the law, and should be fully appraised of the potential consequences they could face as the new owner of the property. 

If you are considering purchasing a Chicago property for rental purposes, consider discussing your situation with a lawyer as soon as possible.

The Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance was enacted in the fall of 2013 and revised in the spring of 2015. When the ordinance was originally created, it carved out many protections for renters, but the amendments went further to strengthen and increase those protections. Many obligations are put onto any new owner who purchases the foreclosed rental property. 

Requirements for the Purchasing Landlord

New owners of a foreclosed rental property have many obligations to tenants under the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance. Some of these obligations include:

- Providing written notice of new ownership to tenants. When a new owner takes over a foreclosed rental property, the new owner must provide written notice to all tenants. The notice must inform tenants of the change in ownership due to the foreclosure, identify the new owner, establish where to pay rent and how to request repairs, and must detail tenants’ rights under the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (an English, Spanish, Polish and Chinese translation of the Ordinance must be provided). Notice must be given within 21 days of taking ownership, or within seven days of learning a tenant’s identity. The notice can be hand delivered (to tenants over the age of 13) or mailed to the tenant’s address, and an additional notice must be posted on the primary entrance to the property. New owners must collect tenant disclosure forms. 

- Collecting tenant disclosure forms from all tenants. New owners must decide to keep renting to a tenant or to offer relocation assistance. A new owner can decide if a tenant will stay or go after gaining ownership of the property. Within 21 days of taking ownership, the owner must provide tenants with a form requesting information about the tenant. Upon return of the form from the tenant, the owner has 21 days to decide if the tenant will stay or go and must notify the tenant of the decision. 

- If the decision is to let the tenant stay, then the owner must provide the tenant with a renewal or extension of their rental agreement. Any rent increase cannot be more than 2 percent. 

- If the decision is that the tenant must go, then the owner is obligated to provide qualified tenants with a relocation fee of $10,600 within a week of the tenant vacating the rental property. 

These are just a few consideration potential buyers of foreclosed rental properties should consider. If you would like to discuss what legal obligations you might have to tenants of a foreclosed rental property upon assuming ownership, you can discuss your concerns with the skilled Illinois real estate lawyers at our firm. We serve the communities of Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Riverwoods, Kenilworth, Long Grove, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


Homestead Rights in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, October 23, 2014

homestead rights in Illinois, Palatine estate planning lawyerWhile there are many well known government programs and policies designed to provide relief during difficult economic times, there are other laws people can take advantage of that are less commonly talked about. One of these laws is known as “homestead rights.” Homestead rights are a protection provided by Illinois law that provide certain immunities from debt collection efforts by creditors. However, these immunities are not absolute, so it is important for people exercising their homestead rights to understand the exact limitations of those rights.

What Homestead Rights Are

Homestead rights are a statutory protection against creditors designed to help people avoid becoming homeless because of changing economic circumstances. The rights allow the debtor to exempt $15,000 worth of real estate from the collection efforts of creditors or their agents. Additionally, if a married couple owns the home, then they can pool their homestead rights together to protect the same house. This gives them an exemption of $30,000. This exemption also survives the death or desertion of a spouse. The exemption can also be passed down to the children of the married couple, at least until the youngest child turns 18.

Illinois' homestead laws are also slightly different than the laws in some other states. Many states choose to restrict the amount of acreage that a person can use the homestead exemption on in addition to capping the total value of the property. Illinois has no such acreage cap. This means that the size of the property is irrelevant to the homestead rights, and that it is purely an issue of how much the land is worth.

What Homestead Rights Do Not Protect

Notably, homestead rights do not provide absolute protection against every type of creditor. For instance, the state legislature wrote an exception into the protection for the purposes of state taxes, so if the creditor is the state of Illinois then the exemption does not apply. Similarly, homestead rights are created by state law, which federal law can supersede, so they provide no protection against the federal government's collecting taxes either. The rights also do not function in many circumstances where the money owed is related to the property itself. A person who uses the house as collateral for a mortgage does not get protection if their home is being foreclosed. Additionally, if the person owes money to contractors for doing work on the home, then the homestead rights do not apply to those debts. Further, the homestead rights can be signed away in writing, which would also remove their protection.

If you have questions about your homestead rights or some other property interest, talk to an experienced Palatine, Illinois estate planning attorney today. Our firm helps clients in many northwest suburban towns including Barrington, Long Grove, and Arlington Heights.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

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