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  • Mon, June 17, 2024 8:46 AM | Nina Vidmer (Administrator)

    The Illinois General Assembly just recently finished the 2024 Spring session with the passage of 422 of the over 6000 bills filed in both the Senate and House.

    Once again, the Advocacy Committee went through an extensive bill review process throughout the session to identify all issue-relevant bills. Through a number of legislative review meetings, the committee identified 59 bills applicable to real estate lawyers. These bills were discussed and debated, positions taken (support, oppose, neutral), lobbied, and tracked.

    We were able to share those positions with legislative leaders, committee chairs, bill sponsors, and relevant stakeholders through our lobbyist. And, once again, we were able to ensure there was no legislation passed that would negatively impact members, including any Title Insurance Act reforms.

    As to title reform efforts, large stakeholder meetings were held during the final months of 2023 and beginning months of 2024. Those meetings included IRELA members and representatives from the Illinois Land Title Association (ILTA), Office of the Attorney General, Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, Illinois State Bar Association, and others. 

    The beginning of session saw the filing of competing reform bills in the form of HB 4941 (ILTA) and HB 4555 (PNTN). Despite efforts to find consensus on these bills, none was reached, and these bills did not advance to passage.

    As to other relevant bills we reviewed, there were five bills IRELA was tracking which passed. They include the following:

    HB 5502 – As originally filed, this bill prohibited the resell of any real estate purchased for renovation and resale within six months of purchase. IRELA’s lobbyist engaged the sponsor on understanding the intent and purpose of this language.

    The sponsor then decided to change this bill to prevent a condominium association from exercising any right of first refusal, option to purchase, or right to disapprove a sale for a discriminatory or other unlawful purpose. It provides a private right of action for any aggrieved person in State circuit court against the condominium association.

    The bill is on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

    SB 2601 – This bill requires every landlord to disclose, in writing, whether a property is in a FEMA 100-year floodplain before the signing of a lease or renewal. The landlord is also required to disclose any actual knowledge of flooding of that property or parking area, and the frequency of that flooding.

    Specific to lower-level units, the landlord is required to disclose whether a lower-level unit has experienced any flooding in the last 10 years, and the frequency of that flooding.

    Flooding is defined as a general or temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of a dwelling or property caused by:

    • (1)   the overflow of inland or tidal waves;
    • (2)   the unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff or surface waters from any established water source such as a river, stream, or drainage ditch; or
    • (3)   rainfall.

    If any landlord fails to comply with the required disclosure, the tenant may terminate the lease and receive all advance rent and fees paid. If there is failure to disclose and flooding occurs which results in damage, the tenant may bring a private right of action to receive the cost of damaged or lost personal property.

    The bill is on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

    Important to note, the sponsor had a companion bill, SB 2602, which would have required a landlord to maintain flood insurance if leasing any lower-level that flooded at least once in the last 10 years. That insurance would need to cover the personal property of the tenant. IRELA’s lobbyist engaged the sponsor and other like-minded stakeholders regarding the association’s opposition to this bill. The sponsor decided not to move forward with the bill.

    SB 2740 – This bill went through a number of helpful changes before its final passage. Originally, the bill required a condominium board of managers to adopt a policy that a disabled unit owner who requires an accessible parking space has access to the building. Also, if an ownwer of an accessible parking space was unable to sell that space, the association was required to purchase the parking space at fair market value and ensure the space was made available to disabled persons.

    In the end, the bill required a condominium board of managers to adopt a policy with procedures for disabled unit owner to submit a request for an accessible parking space, and review that request within 45 days. The board shall make reasonable efforts to provide for accessible parking when the association does not own or control parking that meets the needs of the disabled unit owner. It further requires any new construction or conversion of a condominium must ensure all accessible parking spaces remain common elements. Renting or selling of the accessible parking spaces to non-disabled owners is allowed, but a disabled owner has priority and the non-disabled owner must stop using the common element space upon the board approval of a request by a disabled owner for accessible parking.

    This bill is still awaiting being sent to the Governor for signature.

    SB 2919 – IRELA’s lobbyist engaged the sponsor of this bill and attended multiple stakeholder meetings to monitor its progression. The bill allows for a judicial sale through the engagement of a third party online sale provider by the sheriff. The mortgagee in a foreclosure may request this type of sale. The notice of sale shall include whether the sale will take place online, in person, or both. If online, the website for online bidding must be included. Bidding for residential real estate must be held open for up to three days, but may be extended to allow for all active competitive bidding to occur. Bidding shall be open to everyone for the entire duration of the bidding period. The sheriff may charge additional reasonable fees for costs associated with the online sale. The purchaser must provide the sale deposit and balance due to the sheriff at least 24 hours after the end of the sale.

    This bill is still awaiting being sent to the Governor for signature.

    SB 3551 – This bill allows for “shared appreciation agreements.” Shared appreciation agreements are defined as a writing evidencing a transaction or any option, future, or any other derivative between a person and a consumer where the consumer receives money or any other items of value in exchange for an interest or future interest in a dwelling or residential real estate or a future obligation to repay a sum on the occurrence of an event, such as:

    • (1)   the transfer of ownership;
    • (2)   a repayment maturity date;
    • (3)   the death of the consumer; or
    • (4)   any other event contemplated by the writing.

    The borrower shall be provided counseling before taking any legally binding action on a shared appreciation agreement. The borrower cannot waive this counseling.

    This bill is still awaiting being sent to the Governor for signature.

    While we have gotten past the regular Spring session, the current General Assembly will be back for a few weeks for the fall Veto session on November 12-14 and November 19-21. They will return again for a Lame Duck session before the new General Assembly is sworn in on January 8, 2025. This means there will be more opportunity for some bills already filed to be resurrected and new bills to be filed we have not yet seen.

    This opportunity for more action could include legislation on title reform from ILTA. On June 6, ILTA hosted a title reform stakeholder meeting in which it notified participants it would be working on preparing a new version of this bill to be ready for review this summer. IRELA members attended and advocated for its members. The Advocacy committee will continue its work to protect Illinois real estate lawyers on this and other issues.

  • Wed, March 13, 2024 6:39 AM | Nina Vidmer (Administrator)

    Over the last few weeks, IRELA worked with stakeholder partners to ensure harmful new regulatory legislation did not move forward. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) had HB 5538 filed with the intent to provide expansive new powers to investigate, examine, subpoena, and fine regulated entities, such as those broadly involved in title insurance activities.

    We communicated with the chairperson of the House Financial Services committee and staff at IDFPR. We ensured our opposition to this bill was known. On March 12, the sponsor of HB 5538 amended the bill in committee instead of moving the original bill. The amendment removed all of the previously proposed new powers. After the hard work of those involved, the bill is now reduced to a simple, technical clean-up of the statute with no substantive provisions harmful to IRELA members.

  • Mon, January 15, 2024 3:22 PM | Nina Vidmer (Administrator)

    In 2023, the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (IRELA) achieved yet another successful session dedicated to safeguarding the best interests of its members. The Advocacy Committee meticulously reviewed all real estate-related bills, successfully advocating for our legislative priority's passage in the General Assembly. Moreover, we diligently ensured that any enacted legislation would not adversely affect our members, countering potential challenges such as the market reform initiative proposed by the Illinois Land Title Association (ILTA). Throughout this process, IRELA strengthened existing alliances and cultivated new, valuable connections, solidifying its standing with legislators and stakeholders at the Capitol.

    The Advocacy Committee devised and executed a comprehensive process to assess all legislation pertinent to the issues at hand. IRELA's lobbyist, Jay Curtis, meticulously scrutinized the 6,959 bills filed in both the House and Senate, compiling detailed lists for the committee's examination to determine our stance on each – whether to support, oppose, or maintain a neutral position.

    From the onset of the session and through the veto session, the committee convened regularly to deliberate on and monitor on the advancement of all bills of significance. They also played an active role in opining on nearly 100 bills concerning real estate law, such as taxes and credits, tenant-landlord relations, consumer protections, digital and remote work processes, licensing, record-keeping, disclosure requirements, and market reforms proposed by ILTA. Conclusively, the committee formulated positions on these bills, and through our lobbyist, Jay Curtis, shared our positions with legislative leaders, committee chairs, bill sponsors, and relevant stakeholders.

    It is noteworthy that by the end of the November veto session, no legislation harmful to members was passed, including yet another set of bills introduced by ILTA.

    More importantly, IRELA achieved success in the passage of its priority legislation for the session. In continuation of last year's modernization of the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act, we successfully advocated for the inclusion of language that specifically safeguards the interests of trusts and estate lawyers within the Act. Sponsored by Rep. Curtis Tarver and Sen. Elgie Sims, HB 2098 clarified the definition of "seller" to exempt a beneficiary who has both (i) never occupied and (ii) never held management responsibility for the residential real property from the disclosure requirement.

    IRELA also represented members in ongoing meetings with interested stakeholders to develop an alternative to the ILTA market reforms, should one be needed. IRELA representatives also continually engaged with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The IDFPR interactions were related to potential regulatory actions related to members.

    Members of the IRELA board and Advocacy committee have recently been invited to meetings with ILTA and multiple stakeholders to participate in discussions on the 2024 ILTA market reform legislation.  Rest assured that we will continue to participate in all future discussions to promote and protect the interests of our members.

    In 2024, the Advocacy Committee will embark on another round of reviewing and responding to bills that are pertinent to IRELA members. The overarching objective is to guarantee that real estate lawyers maintain their crucial and indispensable role in the real estate process in Illinois.

  • Tue, August 22, 2023 11:37 AM | Hannah Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    A Lawyer's Unwavering Duty: Ensuring the Quality of Title Insurance Products and the Integrity of the Process, for the Client's Benefit

    The issues and challenges the real estate bar faces on a daily basis are so compelling that IRELA, AREA, and ATG are collaborating to provide unified leadership to the real estate bar on how to respond. We offer these thoughts to ensure your clients are protected.

    The three authors have the privilege of leading real estate lawyer advocacy groups. That work has brought us considerable personal satisfaction and gratitude. Coming from that perspective, we see two challenges that could pose an existential threat to fair competition and the protection of our clients... CLICK HERE to read more. 

  • Wed, June 07, 2023 7:31 AM | Hannah Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    As you may already know, the Illinois Secretary of State announced the adoption of the E-Notary Rule - effective, June 5, 2023.

    Read the June 2023 E-Notary Rules HERE.

  • Fri, February 24, 2023 11:34 AM | Hannah Pfeiffer (Administrator)

    As you are aware, a new state law went into effect on January 1, 2023 regarding Special Warranty Deeds.

    Thanks to the generosity of long-time IRELA Member Dick Bales, IRELA has a fillable form for you to use.

    Download Special Warranty Deed Fillable Form

    To watch a recording of the February 8, 2023 webinar "Dick Bales Complete Guide to Deeds" go to

  • Tue, November 29, 2022 5:52 PM | Anne Hengehold (Administrator)

    The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a condo seller does not have a cause of action against a property management company hired by the Board for charging excessive fees for producing the information required by section 22.1 of the Condominium Property Act.

    Read the decision HERE.

  • Tue, October 25, 2022 11:00 AM | Anne Hengehold (Administrator)

    To read the complete latest edition of the IRELA Legislative Update, go to the Member News Blog. Here's what you'll find:

    • Last Session and the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act
    • The ILTA Market Reform Bill
    • Other Real Estate Bills that Became Law:
      • Special Warranty Deeds - HB 4270  
      • Condominium Property Act – Resale of Unit   HB 5246  
      • Property Records Reserve Study – HB 4158 (P.A. 102-0921)  
    • Where do things stand today?
    • General Assembly Update:
      • Veto Session and Lame Duck
    • Election Season Update:
      • General Assembly
      • Governor and other offices
      • Illinois Supreme Court

    In addition to the update, the IRELA-Residential Real Property Disclosure Act Modernization Fact Sheet is available for download, and, Dan Greenberg's June 13th presentation on changes to the Act is available on the Members-Only page for review and on-demand CLE. 

  • Thu, March 10, 2022 6:49 PM | Anne Hengehold (Administrator)

    The DS-1 TRO which was ordered on March 3, 2022 and filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL today is now available. Download it by clicking here.  

    To support IRELA’s ongoing advocacy regarding the importance of having an experienced, independent attorney representing the interests of each buyer and seller in a real estate transaction, donate now

  • Thu, March 03, 2022 1:27 PM | Anne Hengehold (Administrator)

    IRELA is pleased to inform you that Judge Cohen entered a TRO at 11:33 am this morning prohibiting the use of the new 2022 DS-1 Form for now (and requiring the old DS-1 Form to continue to be used instead). Status on preliminary injunction set for April 8, 2022 at 10:30 am.

    Judge Cohen instructed the Department to update its website today to indicate that the new form "shall" not be used. He also directed that the Department send out a Memorandum to this effect today, if possible.

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