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Legal updates from our Association Attorney

By Gary S. Mueller, Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® Attorney

Phone:  815-725-7300                        e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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February, 2019

As I write this, we are coming out of the coldest winter vortex for our area in the history of record keeping. That being said, I trust all continue to work hard, push to get parties to contract, and persevere through this difficult weather-related concern.  We in the real estate industry simply continue to work hard.

As you know, we are already 1/12th of the way through 2019.  Kinda unbelievable.  With a new year, come new rules and regulations and our industry was not spared change. The following are some changes that may affect your livelihood:

  1. Review of dual agency is underway.  A disclosed dual agent will become more a messenger and less a counselor to clients on opposite sides of a deal;
  2. Under the Illinois Real Estate Licensing Act---Licensee’s may be sponsored by only once brokerage company at a time---thus it is unacceptable for a Licensee to represent clients in a sale for one brokerage house while focusing on property management for a different brokerage company;
  3. Under Art 1 of the Code of Ethics, SOP 1-7, NAR changed the Code to require, upon written request of a cooperating broker who submits an offer to the listing broker, the listing broker SHALL provide a written affirmation that the offer has actually been submitted to the seller/landlord;
  4. All professionals subject to IDFPR with CE requirements WILL be required to take at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training for renewals on or after January 1, 2020.

With a new legislative body in Springfield comes the reconsideration of prior legislation that was previously defeated. One of the more persistent efforts has been tied to requiring rent controls under the guise of promoting affordable housing. In the past, IAR has been successful in defeating similar efforts as rent control would likely result in reduced available, affordable housing; investors may avoid rent controlled properties as they may end up being less financially sound; investors may avoid such situations as it may be more difficult to create a reserve of funds from which maintenance and improvements can be paid; and property values tend to be lowered resulting in less money, in the form of real estate property taxes, being paid to the State, County, and municipality.  Keep an eye out for a resurgence in the push for rent control.

A law suit was filed by the Illinois Land Title Association (ILTA) against the Cook County recorder. The Recorder’s office is refusing to record heirship deeds and affidavits of heirship unless those documents are accompanied by a probate court order demonstrating that heirship has been proven in court.  For ILTA (and most Bar Associations), this requirement is not legal as it requires any party to have to go to the expense of opening an estate in order to transfer property.  Many times, even if real estate is involved, there are insufficient assets in an estate to warrant opening a probate case. The current threshold is $100,000 or more.  Currently, anywhere else than Cook County, a lawyer simply files the documents explained here (and, sometimes has to present a small estate affidavit affirming that the assets of the estate are less than $100,000).  Currently, in Cook County, a judge has ordered an injunction AGAINST the Recorder’s office and the proposed/current practice. A final ruling is expected in the Spring. I will keep you updated on this case.

Finally, many have now seen the 7.0 contract and some are already using it.  As of the end of February of this year, the 6.1 will no longer be an accepted contract for use in our area; you and those in your office should discard your stash of 6.1 contracts.  As of the end of February, the only approved contract will be the 7.0.  Make sure you understand the new contract. There are some major changes to the document.  I will be presenting the changes at a learning lunch at TRAR on Feb 14.  Please stop by.  I would love to answer any questions or concerns you have.

Take care. Stay warm. Stay relevant.  Keep pushing.  Keep smiling.

Gary

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