Beware: The Illinois Rent-to-Own Law Has Changed

Web Admin - Friday, May 18, 2018
Schaumburg real estate attorney rent-to-own contractsWhen purchasing real estate property, most homeowners obtain a mortgage, which provides them with certain legal protections, including in the case of foreclosure. However, following the financial crash of 2008, many potential homeowners have purchased homes through installment contracts (also known as rent-to-own agreements), allowing them to live in their home and pay down the purchase price over time.

These types of agreements provide low-income homeowners or those who are unable to qualify for a mortgage with the ability to purchase their own home. However, since the seller retains the title of the home until all payments have been made, some predatory sellers may use rent-to-own agreements to take advantage of buyers, especially if they fail to disclose issues related to property maintenance or building code compliance.

Changes to Illinois Law Regarding Installment Contracts

On January 1, 2018, a new state law went into effect that is intended to provide buyers with protections in an installment sales contract (often referred to as an Installment Contract for Sale of Real Estate, Articles of Agreement for Deed, or Installment Agreement for Deed). The Illinois Installment Sales Contract Act applies to sellers who sell three or more residential real estate properties in a single year, and it does not apply to agricultural property that is larger than four acres. The law contains the following new provisions:

- A seller must record a contract with the county recorder of deeds within 10 days of the sale of the property. If the contract is not recorded, the buyer can rescind the contract, and the seller must provide them with a refund of all payments made.

- A contract must contain a statement in large, bold type that informs the buyer of their right to obtain a home inspection and/or appraisal from a third party before signing the contract.

- If a building on the property has been condemned, the contract must contain a statement in large, bold type informing the seller of this fact.

- A contract must include a statement of what repairs the buyer is responsible for making to the property. The seller is responsible for making any repairs not included in this statement.

- If a buyer defaults on any payments, they have 90 days to make payments and cure the default before the seller can bring any action against them. If a buyer cannot cure the default, the seller must refund them any money they spent to perform repairs on the property.

- If a buyer defaults after paying at least 20% of the property’s purchase price, the seller must follow foreclosure procedures in order to evict the buyer from the property.

Contact an Inverness Real Estate Attorney

If you are planning to use an installment contract to buy or sell a home, an experienced attorney can review your contract to ensure that your rights are protected and that the correct legal procedures are followed. To schedule a personalized consultation, contact a Mount Prospect real estate lawyer at 847-934-6000.

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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