Your Right To Rent Your Property is at Risk! Call Your Legislators!
Once again we have two branches of our government that are telling us (landlords) to do opposite things with huge penalties if we do not obey them!
The Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a letter about the Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate Related Transaction. They specifically suggest that the "disparate impact" of using criminal background to screen tenants is discrimination.
Yet we have been told by many local governments that we cannot rent to people with criminal backgrounds. And, in many communities with Crime Free housing laws, if someone is arrested (merely accused of a crime) we can be forced to evict them. Now at the Federal level, we are being told that we can't draw a line in the sand and refuse to rent based on a person having a criminal background. The laws are in conflict, and we are stuck in the middle.
The penalties range from loss of the right to rent our property on one side to tens of thousands of dollars of fines on the other. It is truly wrong! If you own rental property you need to be aware of this, and be taking action now. What action? Get on the phone and call your Senator and Representative in Washington, DC, your Senator and Representative in Springfield, and the City Officials in any community where you own rental property.
You can find contact information at:
Federal Members of Congress: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map
Illinois State Representatives: http://il--nea.capwiz.com/nea/il/directory/statedir.tt?state=IL&lvl=state
Local - google search your various municipalities
Your next action should be to let other property owners know about this and ask them to take action as well.
Illinois Rental Property Owners Association (IRPA) Bill Tracking Report - 13 page report
Congress Passes Extension of Short Sale Tax-Break in Year-End Budget
Just before Christmas, Congress passed and the President signed a year-end omnibus budget bill that included over $1 trillion and new spending as well as over $600 billion in tax cuts. Included in those tax cuts was an extension of a tax-break for homeowners relieving them of paying income tax on the difference between what they owe on the mortgage and the amount raised in a short sale - especially if the lender reduces the owed principal amount. The tax-break, which had expired at the end of 2014, was reauthorized and made retroactive for all of 2015 and will cover all of 2016. The forgiven mortgage debt exemption is expected to save homeowners in this situation over $3 billion for tax year 2015 alone. The provision was originally signed into law by President GW Bush as part of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007. It was supposed to run through 2009 but has been extended several times. Keep in mind, however, that this issue will have to be revisited once again at the end of this year. REIA members are encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives and voice their support to make important this tax-exemption permanent.
To learn more about these and other important issues affecting the real estate investing industry, visit www.RealEstateInvestingToday.com.
Here is a link to an article written by Paul Arena, the Legislative Director for Illinois Rental Property Owners Association. The article discusses a new law that took effect January 1st, 2015 regarding the Recovery of Costs in Code Enforcement Appeals.
The Illinois Rental Property Owners Association worked to get this legislation introduced and passed this past year as part of an ongoing effort to make the code enforcement process more equitable. Thank you for your participation in CCIA and your contributions to IRPOA which have helped make a difference in this case and many others.
Election season is upon us. As responsible voters we need to figure out which of the candidates is most likely to be a responsible steward of our rights, freedom, money and business. I put together a spreadsheet showing the various Bills in Springfield that IRPOA worked on this year, and the votes/sponsorships of each of the Representatives and Senators. Take some time to look up your Senator and your Representative and see how they did. Green entries are bills, sponsorships and votes that were in line with our interests, Red were against our interest. I view Sponsorship of a Bill with a lot more weight than a mere vote. Someone who Sponsored has indicated that they really back its purpose.
We've had a recent legislative victory for property owners in Illinois thanks to the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association. Early this year IRPOA introduced a bill in Springfield - "SB2829 Civil Procedure - Administrative Appeals". After many months of work, many amendments, 70 legislative actions and countless phone calls, legislator visits, emails, PAC discussions, and work by the PAC Committee and our members - it has passed and has been signed into law by Governor Quinn!
The short version of what we accomplished:
If we appeal a code compliance complaint and the court finds in our favor, the court can award reasonable costs including attorney's fees and court costs. This may sound like "no big deal" - something that should have been the law to begin with, but it wasn't, and the municipalities fought hard trying to defeat it. Some have been using code compliance complaints and fines to push their agendas with no consequences since the owners have had to bear the cost of the fight, even if there was no basis for the complaint and even if they won on appeal. Here is a link to the new law.
Illinois Rental Property Owners Association - Educational mp3 - Preventing Headaches (Nightmares) by Using An Application
This is an information packed discussion of the use of applications and tenant screening to get quality tenants and prevent potential headaches. Preventing problem tenants from moving in is much easier than getting rid of problem tenants after they have moved in. Also discussed - how to make sure that questions on your application don't get you into trouble with fair housing.
Please consult with competent local professionals when deciding how to best handle your rentals and the risks involved.
April 13, 2014
SB2829 - In Code Enforcement issues, the deck is stacked against you. As the property owner you are considered guilty unless they can prove they are innocent. Proving you are innocent and then appealing decisions of the code enforcement official currently happens at your expense. Frequently it is cheaper to pay the fines even when you are innocent. In proposing SB2829 we are trying to bring fairness to the system. We proposed that fines and fees, court costs and reasonable attorney costs could be recoverable if a property owner won on appeal. This Bill has passed in the Senate. It now goes to the House of Representatives in Springfield. Please talk to your Representatives about supporting this Bill.
HB1532 - Offensive Use of Property - When there are accusations of criminal activity at a property, many governments have laws that allow them to force the property owner to evict the occupants. Eviction based on accusations flies in the face of our justice system. In addition to this, these policies punish the landlord over conduct we can't control. The evidence to prove the criminal activity is often not made available to the property owner. This Bill has passed in the House. Please contact your Senator and ask them to support it. Other Issues to Discuss:Cook County Evictions Average eviction - 8-10 weeks if Sheriff does not have to enforce the order If Sheriff needs to enforce the order this currently adds 4-5 months. The court order is only good for 6 months and then requires the owner to file for an extension. The Sheriff has been making a variety of excuses why they aren't enforcing the court orders. It is not their business to be second-guessing the courts. If they can't enforce the orders, we need to have the ability to hire someone else to do it. FYI In some other communities, the court can hear the case in a few days to a few weeks, and then the order of possession has a stay for a few days. Once the stay is up, the tenant can be arrested for trespassing. Landlords do not need to use the sheriff to enforce the order. Freeport uses this process - an eviction takes 5 - 10 days.
EPA Lead Information
Federal Law requires owners of pre-1978 housing to give the "Protect Your Family…" booklet to prospective tenants before a lease is signed.
FHA Flipping Rules & Guidelines
The Case Against
Inspections & Licensing
Vacant Buildings Ordinance
Investors and rental property owners in Illinois have benefited from the efforts of the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association's PAC (Political Action Committee) and our lobbyist for many years. As a founding member, Jane Garvey was instrumental in establishing IRPOA almost 20 years ago!
Your continued contributions to our funding and grassroots efforts are very much appreciated.