July 2012 RVOICE Report

July 11, 2012

Educating REALTORS®, Consumers and Elected Officials

Reports from Illinois REALTORS®' Local Government Affairs Directors (GADS)

Mike ScobeySo far this year, the Illinois REALTORS®' local advocacy program has helped fight back against a proposal to increase rental unit inspections in Belleville, provided training on lowering tax assessments in Cook County and was successful in getting Rockford's city leadership to alter a zoning ordinance that infringed on private property rights.

The actions listed in this report show that Illinois REALTORS® is fighting for our members' interests, whether it is at the Capitol or in communities statewide.


Mike Scobey
Assistant Director, Advocacy and Local Issues

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Central Illinois

Forging Ahead

The Bloomington-Normal Association of REALTORS® (BNAR) is utilizing RVOICE funding to support Forging Ahead, a new initiative of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council.

The council’s goal is to heighten the focus on new business recruitment and existing business expansion – the end result being a positive business climate and improved viability for the region.

Participation in this project serves as another example of agencies working together in the forward growth of the region. The valuable relationships developed and nurtured over the years with our economic development partners have helped create strategies to provide the best public services and increased business growth.

Just as real estate is integral to the vitality of the economy, partnering in Forging Ahead is a substantive and vital contribution BNAR is able to make toward local economic development and toward creating jobs in the communities we serve.

For more information, please contact Kristie Engerman at kengerman@illinoisrealtors.org.

Chatham Passes Zero Lot Line Zoning

Thanks to efforts lead by the Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR), the Village of Chatham has adopted new zoning changes that will provide for zero lot lines for duplexes in the village.

CAAR sought these changes to increase the financing options available to prospective buyers in the village. This change will also provide clarification as to how these properties are categorized for recording purposes.

“Zero lot line” refers to a variance from interior side yard setbacks, which allows for duplexes to share a party wall and to have that common wall serve as the property line so that each half of a duplex sits on an individual parcel of land. It allows each parcel to have a unique property identification number.

Prior to this change, duplexes in Chatham were treated as essentially condominium associations of two units, and the property the two units sat upon as a common area. 

Due to a tightening in the availability of conventional financing (and the increase in reliance on FHA financing) in the marketplace, the CAAR Board of Directors decided to pursue this change. The zoning change will allow future duplexes to be zoned as such, and will allow a process by which duplexes currently classified as condominiums can establish a party wall agreement and have their property re-surveyed and recorded.

For more information, please contact Neil Malone at nmalone@illinoisrealtors.org.

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Chicago Property Tax Assessment Appeals Program

This spring, the Cook County Assessor’s office began its triennial assessment process for the eight county townships that make up the City of Chicago. The staff of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) was presented with an opportunity to collaborate with affiliate member True Partners Consulting LLC to develop a training program to help members gain a better understanding of current trends in property taxes, what to do when a property is reassessed for tax purposes, and simple steps that can be taken now that may result in tax savings later.

The program is designed as a free member benefit. The goal behind it is quite simple. When a prospective buyer is looking at a property, there are two key elements: the listed price and the property taxes. The ability to make the latter as low a number as possible will instantly make the property more desirable. This goal can be achieved by appealing the assessment at both the assessor’s office and the Cook County Board of Review.  If we can help our members understand the process, they will be able to help their clients to appeal their assessments and ultimately lower their property tax bills.

Assessment notices were mailed out to homes and businesses in Rogers Park Township in late February. CAR staff sent email invitations to every managing broker in the township to attend a free seminar put on by True Partners. We worked with the managing broker of one of the large offices, Century 21 Universal, to secure a meeting space and on March 6, the seminar was held.

The relatively small Rogers Park Township was perfect as a starting point because the next township up, Lakeview, is home to thousands of CAR members. Staff members prepared to hold multiple seminars in Lakeview and they turned out to be so popular with members that a fourth seminar needed to be scheduled to accommodate all who were interested.

In short, for Cook County REALTORS® knowledge of the appeal process and working with sellers to lower their assessment value positions the property well as tax issues are often raised. For existing clients or past clients who have bought a home; working with them to file appeals is also beneficial as lowering tax assessments is a key component in their property tax bill.

CAR engaged in a similar process three years ago when they were successful in working with the Board of Review and the Office of the Mayor in facilitating Board of Review appeals. Over 30,000 properties received reductions as a result of this effort. CAR hopes to achieve similar results this assessment year.

For more information, please contact Brian Bernardoni at bbernardoni@illinoisrealtors.org.

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Metro-East Area

Belleville Decides Against Increasing Rental Inspections

When a rental property’s roof was in need of repair, a Belleville alderman said he thought the city’s current code enforcement needed more intrusive rental inspections to cure the property’s faults. As a result, the southwestern Illinois city recently proposed changing its current rental property inspection ordinance from the yearly annual inspection to requiring a rental inspection with every change of occupancy.

The REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI) Government Affairs Committee quickly moved  into action  after being made aware of the proposal the same day the vote was being taken.

Officially opposing the change in frequency, Local Government Affairs Director Kyle Anderson testified with REALTOR® members attending in support, that the current ordinance was sufficient in addressing the issues raised by the council.

The members’ concerns were that  getting an inspection at every change of occupancy is cumbersome to property owners, the repeated cost of $60 per inspection would be cost prohibitive to potential investors looking to purchase in Belleville, as well as the cost of the inspections would be passed onto potential consumers. In addition, RASI wanted to make sure council members were made aware of the current tools the city already had at its disposal to take care of the problems of the troubled property.

Upon making our case, RASI members waited for the council’s vote. A motion was raised to table the ordinance for further input by REALTORS® and other property owners. The motion was made and voted on with a split, 8-to-8 vote. Thanks to RASI’s good working relationship with Belleville Mayor Mark Eckhart, the mayor cast a deciding vote to table the ordinance.

RASI Government Affairs will continue to monitor housing issues in Belleville which will be much better represented thanks to the recent appointment of RASI member Tricia Tialdo to the Health and Housing Committee.

For more information, please contact Kyle Anderson at kanderson@illinoisrealtors.org

Jerseyville Opts Out of Residential Sprinkler Mandate

The city of Jerseyville is currently in the process of updating its building codes. Included in the proposed update was inclusion of the mandated fire sprinkler installation on all new homes constructed after the new building codes take effect.

Working with the Home Builders Association, the Greater Gateway Association of REALTORS® worked with city Building Inspector Jeff Sohr to get the fire sprinkler mandate excluded. City officials were worried if they excluded the fire sprinkler mandate, the city could become liable in the future. After being reassured by Local Government Affairs Director Kyle Anderson they could exclude this portion of the code update, city attorneys felt comfortable with pulling the mandate.

For more information, please contact Kyle Anderson at kanderson@illinoisrealtors.org.

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Northern Illinois

REALTORS® in Rockford Stop Business Buffer Zones

An education effort by REALTORS® in Rockford worked to better define a policy that sought to limit property usage.

A proposal in March sought to limit the number of resale shops, tobacco retailers, payday loan businesses, title loan businesses, and government guarantee loan businesses. The idea was to create buffer zones in Rockford of up to a mile between similar businesses, which was supposed to improve the look of neighborhoods.

Concerns of blight, appearance, safety, signage and criminal activities are things that should be addressed. Throughout the process, the Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® simply pointed out that buffer zones do nothing to correct these concerns. REALTORS® don’t represent the payday loan industry, tobacco retailers, or any other affected business, but instead view the issue from the standpoint of the property owner.  

Cases in point: Rockford recently had two resale shops open up in areas of town that are being revitalized. Should the city prohibit small businesses such as Just for Us Plus from locating in the Mid-Town District because it is a block north of Office Outfitters? One sells used clothing for plus-sized women and the other sells used office equipment and furniture. 

TreazuredMemories just opened up downtown. It is a half mile from Food Equipment Liquidators. The former sells used clothing and decor and the latter sells used restaurant equipment. Both examples are unrelated resale businesses that could have been prevented from opening up near each other, simply because they are resale operations. 

Some Rockford officials pointed to other communities where they said buffer zones were working. Rockford’s REALTORS® noted that small businesses do not have the legal means to fight city hall, so they are more likely not to open at all or just move to another area that has a more business-friendly policy.

There has been legal push-back from companies that are subsidiaries of large corporations, such as payday and title loan companies. Collinsville, Ill., and San Antonio, Texas, are two recent examples of communities being sued in federal court over artificial caps on the number of such companies allowed in their communities. 

Rockford Area REALTORS® lobbied council members to consider the unintended consequences, property rights and the free market in their decision. Through an intense effort, city staff this month revised the proposal to move some businesses into special use categories, strengthen the licensing requirements for tobacco licensees, and abandon buffer zones.

For more information, please contact Conor Brown at cbrown@iar.org

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North and Northwest Suburban Illinois

Deerfield adopts infrastructure “impact fee”

In early May the Village of Deerfield Board of Trustees unanimously adopted an infrastructure “impact fee” – essentially, a one-half percent tax on work that requires a building permit. If a property owner upgrades electrical wiring to make it safer, installs a new, energy-efficient furnace or builds a sunroom, the property owner will be compelled to pay a one-half percent tax to the village on the overall construction costs.

The stated purpose of the tax is to mitigate the wear and tear to the streets due to large construction vehicles. However, while not outright opposing the tax, the North Shore–Barrington Association of REALTORS® raised some concerns.

First, legally and practically, what was adopted is a tax, not an “impact fee” – even the village’s own attorney admits what is adopted is a tax and does not meet the standards of a fee.

Taxes and fees (and even impact fees) have different meanings and purposes, and require different means of adoption. Generally speaking a fee is a charge for a specific government service in which the payee is the primary beneficiary, such as admission to a community swimming pool. A tax is usually applied on a product, income, or activity with the money being used for general revenue purposes.

Better defining the “fee” as a tax aids in better communication and understanding with the public.

Second, the association pointed out that while the village cited the impact of large vehicles, most projects requiring a building permit involve small vehicles, such as an electrician’s pick-up truck. Certainly, the impact is no worse than the countless other vehicles that transverse Deerfield each day, including school busses, utility trucks, resident’s SUVs and UPS/FedEx trucks.

Third, REALTORS® asked the Village Board to consider the benefit of work to improve real estate. The association reminded the Village Board that those that seek building permits are improving their property – making them safer and improving community standards. When a resident seeks a building permit they are employing community members such as plumbers and architects, and local retail stores benefit from the spending associated with the work.

Finally, the association noted those that obtain building permits often see those improvements translate to higher assessed values and subsequently increased property taxes; therefore they should be mindful of assessing a tax when the property owner already may pay higher property taxes as a result of getting the building permit.

Unfortunately, the Village Board unanimously approved adoption of the faux-impact fee without any changes. Political euphemisms, like calling a tax a fee, may be politically beneficial to the elected officials but it undermines the ability of the public to monitor and understand their government.

For more information, please contact Howard Handler at hhandler@iar.org.

NSBAR investigates; calls Evanston out for blacklisting properties

On Sept. 29, 2011, the city of Evanston issued a list of 52 properties with “open building and/or overcrowding cases under investigation [as of] Sept. 28, 2011.” According to Evanston’s Director of Community and Economic Development Steve Griffin, the purpose of the list was “to aggressively advertise properties with current code enforcement cases pending so that Northwestern University students are advised to not enter into leases for the 2012/2013 school year at these locations” – essentially a government-backed boycott of certain properties. The list simply provided the property address, building type, and contact person for the property; but no details relating to the alleged violation or investigation were provided.

To date, the city has never informed property owners of the criteria used for creating the list, the specific violations, or how to be removed from the list. Moreover, according to the city, no similar records or list exist for properties located elsewhere in the city. After the list’s release, property owners demanded answers but the city of Evanston failed to undertake any review of the matter.

An in-depth review of city-provided records, conducted by the North Shore–Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR), reveals that the vast majority of properties on the “List of 52” have zero or relatively insignificant alleged violations. Examples found in the course of NSBAR’s review include properties found to be free and clear of all violations, properties in which city inspectors were merely suspicious of violations but conducted no investigation, and even a property in which the city found to have “pea gravel in front entry walk instead of concrete.”

A government-backed blacklisting seems to go beyond the authority of the city, and deprives Evanston property owners of their constitutional due process rights. A continuation of policies such as this can have the detrimental effect of driving reputable investment property owners out of Evanston and lead to increased devaluation of properties and an increase in distressed properties.

As a result of NSBAR’s advocacy, within hours of releasing our findings, Northwestern University, after months on their website, removed all references (including the list itself) to the “List of 52” from their website. NSBAR will continue to work with the city of Evanston in bringing much needed reform to the Community and Economic Development Department to ensure actions such as this do not happen again.

For more information, please contact Howard Handler at hhandler@iar.org.

REALTORS® support organic affordable housing – coach houses

After a couple years of heated community debate, the Village of Winnetka Board of Trustees essentially nixed the Village Plan Commission’s proposed affordable housing plan which, ironically, would have served to increase housing costs throughout the village. One redeeming component of the plan salvaged by the Village Board is the idea to liberalize existing regulations on existing coach houses. The North Shore–Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR) took a position of enthusiastic support for this particular aspect. The Village Board unanimously adopted an ordinance to provide for an easy way for coach houses, previously considered as nonconforming with the zoning code, to be established as conforming. The ordinance provides property owners a simple, one-time process to allow full use of existing coach houses, including offering the coach houses for rent or use by other family members.

NSBAR expressed wholehearted concurrence with the village staff’s contention “that relaxing restrictions on coach houses would enhance individual property rights and contribute to the diversity of the village’s housing stock.” In fact, NSBAR, in a letter to the Village Board, suggested allowing the new construction of coach houses on lots with enough space. Doing so may provide more opportunity for some to purchase homes in Winnetka knowing they will be able to rely on income generated from a coach house, and providing greater housing opportunities in Winnetka for those that might otherwise not be able to afford the real estate. It may also allow families to provide housing for family members that desire independence but benefit from the close proximity of family, such as elderly parents or a disabled child. While the Village Board has not addressed new coach houses, the village’s affirmation that existing coach houses are a valuable addition to the community is an excellent first step.

For more information, please contact Howard Handler at hhandler@iar.org.

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South & West Suburban Illinois, Joliet, Fox Valley, DeKalb, Kankakee, Illini Valley

Elgin Vacant Property Ordinance

The Government Affairs Committee at the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley (RAFV) has been closely following the Vacant Property Ordinance in Elgin since June 2010.

What started as a simple request by residents to address the exterior condition of vacant neighborhood properties quickly escalated into an ordinance that included both exterior and interior inspections, excessive inspection fees and language that, according to IAR’s legal counsel, would make REALTOR® members liable for the registration, fees and code improvements for their listed vacant properties.

Our local government affairs team went to work. Ron Ewing, Broker/Owner of the RE/MAX Horizon office in Elgin and Chairman of the RAFV Government Affairs Committee, has been instrumental in influencing Elgin Mayor David Kaptain and members of the city council to revise the definitions of the Vacant Property Ordinance.

“The new city ordinance will impact the real estate market in Elgin as a whole if we cannot close properties,” Ewing said. “Specifically if there are outstanding code violations due to city inspections, these violations will need to be paid prior to the transfer stamp being issued. REALTORS® needed to be at the table with local officials to impact a change to the Elgin ordinance.”

Ultimately, per the recommendations of local REALTORS®, members of the Elgin City Council voted unanimously to amend the definition of “owner” in their ordinance to exclude our REALTOR® members. The council amended the definition of “vacant building” to allow for properties that are currently undergoing construction and homes that are vacant due to a military deployment.

The most recent changes to the ordinance do not address the excessive fees, but there is indication that members of the City Council would be willing to revisit the ordinance. At a September 2011 council meeting Councilwoman Anna Moeller indicated “if after a number of months it is causing an undue burden and it’s creating an unintended consequence where it’s actually hindering us from getting these houses on the market, then let’s reevaluate it.”

Ewing said: “The key to this ordinance succeeding now is to allow the closing to take place with open code violations that the buyer agrees to be responsible for and have properties inspected at a later date.”

Recently, RAFV’s government affairs team contacted members to get feedback on the impact the ordinance is having on Elgin’s real estate market. Many members indicated that the process for registering vacant properties and scheduling home inspections was flawed. They reported that the system used by Elgin identifies properties for registration that do not meet the definition of “vacant” as outlined in the ordinance. Members said because of the excessive fees charged by the city and strict inspection guidelines, many of their investor and first-time homebuyers have decided to look outside of Elgin to buy.

Local REALTORS® invited RAFV’s government affairs team to accompany them on a scheduled appointment so that they were able to see the inspection process first hand. Most importantly, RAFV members agreed that the Elgin Vacant Property Ordinance seemed to work best at keeping vacant properties vacant.

In May Ewing, Bonifacio Mondragon, Immediate RAFV Past President and an Elgin REALTOR® and Kristen Jungles, local governmental affairs director, met Kaptain to address member concerns. Kaptain agreed that the ordinance’s original purpose was to address safety concerns and exterior maintenance issues at vacant properties and he indicated he was troubled that the ordinance was having a negative impact on Elgin’s real estate market.

The RAFV Board of Directors has requested a meeting with the city’s staff and elected officials to address the registration process, fee structure, property identification and inspection requirements included in the Vacant Property Ordinance.

For more information, please contact Kristen Jungles at kjungles@iar.org

Will County Zoning Ordinance Rewrite

For 15 months REALTORS® have been reviewing and amending efforts to re-write the zoning ordinance in Will County. The collective efforts of the Three Rivers, Illinois and National associations of REALTORS®, have worked to protect property owners. This ordinance review is funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant as Will County advocates green development. 

As community stakeholders, REALTORS® have encouraged consideration for potential green building development, if sustainable, along with an expedited review for new applications to apply for development as the county offered 21 business days and we recommended seven, which was adopted.  

Further concerns REALTORS® addressed have centered on residential issues such as non-conformities, leaseholds, split-zoned parcels, residential convenience and support establishments to name some other examples as the county’s draft ordinance could have limited these type of developed areas and or new development. REALTOR® input allowed these policies to be better crafted by the county.

REALTORS® demonstrated our ability to speak clearly and advocate for good policy for the public and association members.  The effort has resulted in a property rights-friendly policy up for consideration by the Will County board in July.

For more information, please contact Tom Joseph at tjoseph@iar.org.

Municipal Point of Sale Brings Challenges

Throughout the far southern suburbs of Cook County there are local municipal governments that engage in point-of-sale inspections which can prohibit and or delay real estate property transfers.

Because of REALTOR® vigilance, members contact government affairs, which in turn contacts villages to explain the details related to an “As Is” or an estate sale. Sometimes this allows a transaction to progress so the property and buyers and sellers can address the most serious concerns. 

REALTORS® have been active in three villages which were looking to hold up transactions.

  • One case had to do with allowing a new buyer who had been renting and had purchased and closed, to move in. But based upon the inspection, she could not get occupancy.
  • A second case had to do with an estate, as-is sale for purchase with inspection issues remaining.
  • And yet another had to do with the seller not being able to address the point-of-sale inspection concerns when property had been purchased previously and was now looking to sell property with the city insisting on all inspection issues to be corrected before sale.      

The RVOICE in all our efforts were successful in educatingand explaining the issues to municipal leaders and allowing the transactions to be completed.

For more information, please contact Tom Joseph at tjoseph@iar.org.

Woodridge Landlord Licensing/Crime Free Housing

April brought renewed interest in landlord licensing and crime-free housing in Woodridge.

While Woodridge has had landlord licensing since the early 1990s, now proposed was an expansion that would include “anyone owning two or more single-family homes in the village.”

In reviewing the existing ordinance, REALTORS® found several problems with the old landlord licensing rules. The ordinance required a landlord to renounce any Fourth Amendment rights to obtain a license, ignored the Fourth Amendment rights of leaseholders, and completely ignored the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act. While local landlords refused to take a position against this proposal, REALTORS® attended village meetings and testified in opposition to these proposals.

In June, REALTORS® met with the village’s staff and came to a compromise with officials over several issues. The ordinance will now contain clearly defined administrative warrant provisions to protect property owner and tenant rights. Still to be resolved is the question of licensing owners of single-family rental units. The village offered to raise the trigger to three or more units requiring inspection while REALTORS® ask that single-family homes be exempt from regulation.

The Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® continues to meet with village officials and prepare for a July 2012 council meeting for final action.

For more information, please contact Jeff Merrinette at jmerrinette@iar.org

Frank Talk From REALTORS® to Members of Congress

With the state of the economy and the seemingly endless election cycle, REALTORS® nationwide met in Washington, D.C., in mid-May to discuss issues, rally on the National Mall, and meet with members of Congress. Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe), as the fourth largest REALTOR® association in the country, sent a large delegation.

Members of MORe met with local members of Congress Lipinski, Roskam, Biggert, Walsh, and Dold as well as several Congressmen from the south suburbs. The message was clear and to the point: help us resolve the flood insurance problem with a long-term solution that homeowners can count on. REALTORS® also asked lawmakers to keep homeowners in mind while passing the budget and preserve provisions in the tax code that support homeownership. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform was also a talking point. As Congress reforms FHA, the program will need tools and policies to ensure stability and continue to be a viable option for families.

Liquidity in the commercial marketplace is important to REALTORS® and an issue unfamiliar to many in Congress. NAR reports, “continued economic weakness and uncertainty are contributing to lackluster demand for commercial space, which has resulted in reduced operating incomes, property values and equity — all of which complicate efforts to refinance maturing loans.”

Approximately $1.6 trillion in commercial real estate mortgages will mature between 2012 and 2016. Currently there is insufficient credit capacity for small businesses and other commercial property owners to refinance this wave of loan maturities, which could result in higher loan defaults and delinquencies — further endangering economic recovery.” REALTORS® urged Congress to expand credit union small business lending to help fill a dire need in the marketplace and to enact covered bonds legislation to help support lending recover from near zero percent CMBS market.

In addition, 15,500 REALTORS® rallied on the National Mall at the base of the Washington Monument. REALTORS® from every corner of the country spoke to the need for a housing recovery. “No one grows up dreaming of being a tenant,” said Gerardo Ascencio, president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals®.

For more information, please contact Jeff Merrinette at jmerrinette@iar.org

REALTORS® Defeat Home Rule

Home rule is not a difficult issue to understand, but it is a bit arcane. In recent elections, ballot initiatives by villages have become more sophisticated. With waning tax revenues, villages see home rule as an opportunity to control more of their financial picture. Home rule means flexibility, be it in holding more debt, raising taxes, or passing fees and regulations with little to no state oversight.

While villages paint a rosy picture of home rule, it falls to REALTORS® to provide the counter argument. Yes, home rule will give your village all these powers and flexibility; however it comes at a price for homeowners.

Clarendon Hills, Itasca, and Prospect Heights had home rule referenda on the ballot this spring and in each case the measures were defeated. In Clarendon Hills REALTORS® and a concerned citizens group opposed the village’s efforts to give such a small town such expansive powers. In addition to two informational mailing pieces funded by the IAR RVOICE program, local citizens organized neighborhood coffees, printed “Say No to Home Rule” yard signs, and walked precincts.

Clarendon Hills voters soundly rejected home rule with a 30 percent plurality (an unheard of landslide for most elections).  Itasca, another small community, looked to gain the power to use tourism funds for the city infrastructure (not a permitted fund transfer for non-home rule units) but again lost with 55 percent of voters saying no to this expansion of municipal power. Prospect Heights had home rule on the ballot for the third time with voters yet again denying the city home rule powers.

For more information, please contact Jeff Merrinette at jmerrinette@iar.org

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Southern Illinois

West Frankfort Enforcing Transfer Tax on Lake Leases

The home rule community of West Frankfort is enforcing a real estate transfer tax on the transfer of leases surrounding the city-owned West Frankfort Lake. West Frankfort owns the underlying property but leases the parcels out for 99-year increments to willing buyers. However, when a lease owner wants to sell a lease the city applies a one percent fee on the selling price of the lease.

Illinois law requires that a home rule community utilize a transfer tax only after the council passes a resolution placing a referendum allowing the tax to be assessed on the next election’s ballot. Only after the referendum is approved by a majority of the city’s residents can the council enforce a transfer tax. West Frankfort never held a referendum to ask for voter approval and may be enforcing the tax improperly.

IAR legal counsel determined state law applies to the transfer of leases of city-owned property and has sent correspondence to the city asking they stop assessing the tax. IAR will keep Egyptian Board of REALTORS® members apprised of the outcome of this situation.

For more information, please contact Kyle Anderson at kanderson@iar.org.

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Contact a Local Governmental Affairs Director (GAD) | What is RVOICE?

RVOICE is the name of the Illinois REALTORS® Advocacy Program. This program, established in 2006, ensures that the interests of REALTORS® and property owners are well represented before state and local governments throughout Illinois. Since the Advocacy Program was launched in 2006, this dues-funded initiative has used several innovative and effective advocacy methods to help ensure that the "Voice for Real Estate" is heard throughout Illinois. Polling, public outreach and independent research are just a few examples of the ways in which the Advocacy Program has strengthened our lobbying at the state and local levels.