Last week the Illinois Senate Local Government Committee approved legislation OPPOSED by the IAR. Senate Bill 3001, sponsored by Senator Susan Garrett would permit all counties the authority to establish an affordable housing trust fund by imposing ANOTHER surcharge on the recordation of any real estate related documents. Fees would be imposed by ordinance of the county board WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL for the purpose of providing financial support for affordable housing activities for low and moderate income households “as determined by the county board.”

The bill grants a county board the authority to impose a charge that begins at $5 in 2010 and 2011 which can be increased up to $10 after 2019. The IAR argued against this proposal in committee debate and was very disappointed in the 6-2 roll call vote. The bill is currently on final passage stage in the Senate and IAR is urging its members to contact your state legislator to ask for a NO vote on SB 3001.

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider IAR initiative Senate Bill 3747, which creates the Transfer Fee Covenant Act. The concept of these private transfer fees is that a covenant is recorded on property that requires future buyers or sellers to pay a transfer fee to whoever is designated in the covenant on all future transfers. These covenants set a dangerous precedent in attempting to establish a new estate in real property separate and apart from any possessory interest in the real property. SB 3747 declares these transfer fee covenants to be invalid and against public policy.

Finally, thanks to the hundreds of Illinois REALTORS® who responded to our Call to Action regarding House Bill 5071 that was scheduled for a hearing last week in the House Business and Occupational Licenses Committee. The Committee hearing was cancelled last week but the bill could be called this week.

HB 5071 is an initiative of the Homebuilders Association and is STRONGLY OPPOSED by the IAR. HB 5071 deletes the “regular employee” definition within the Real Estate License Act. As you are aware, the Real Estate License Act has always had a provision exempting an individual or entity that is selling or leasing its own property from needing a license to do so. This exemption had included the “regular employees” of such owner or lessor. However, this limitation had never been clearly defined and the regulating agency, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation sought clarity in the meaning of the term, and so a definition was added to the rewrite. This is a significant consumer protection issue.