This is perhaps the most challenging part of the legislative session for groups like the Illinois Association of REALTORS® that face a great deal of legislation that affects them. Between the bill introduction deadline a couple of weeks ago and the first committee deadline on March 17, the fate of thousands of bills will be determined.
Your IAR lobbyists are working around the clock to analyze the impact of legislation, get the REALTOR® message to legislators, staff people, and other lobbyists, attend and testify at committee hearings, and work roll calls on the few bills that have made it to the floor thus far. It is critical at this point in the process to either kill or negotiate amendments to as many bills as possible that we oppose, as the further a bill moves into the process, the more difficult it becomes to stop.
Unfortunately, that’s what we must spend most of our lobbying time on—fixing or stopping legislation that would negatively affect our members, the industry, or property owners in general. The following are just a few of the critical issues that REALTOR® lobbyists are working on right now:
- regulation of appraisal management companies (AMCs), and whether bank-owned AMCs are exempt;
- auctioneer legislation to delete the requirement for auctioneers who sell real estate to have a real estate license;
- legislation to add toxic mold to the seller disclosure form;
- legislation to limit the ability of commercial developers to protect themselves with retainage provisions in their contracts.
Many onerous landlord-tenant bills are proposed including legislation to:
- require landlords to change the locks between tenants;
- impose rent control, strictly limit application fees;
- prohibit landlords from considering a prospective tenant’s arrest record prior to leasing;
- require landlords to search sex offender databases;
- require landlords to disclose to tenants if the property is or will be up for sale, or if the management will be changing; and
- requirements to test and disclose radon hazards in rental units.
Many bills to give local governments more regulatory and taxing powers that affect real estate, including legislation to:
- allow ALL municipalities to license and regulate ALL businesses;
- impose significant new stormwater management fees if homeowners and developers don’t adopt “green” practices;
- give municipalities the power to collect debts by adding it to homeowners’ tax bills;
- expand even further the powers local governments have regarding “nuisance” properties;
- and there’s even rumblings that legislation to allow municipalities to set up and run their own real estate development entities called “land banks” to acquire, hold, develop, and sell vacant and abandoned property.
Additionally, IAR will bring the REALTOR® voice to the table on broader policy discussion on everything from Tax Increment Financing reform to foreclosure issues, the new law regarding homeowner associations to a re-examination of the ill-fated attempt in the income tax bill to eliminate the property tax credit for property taxes paid.
That’s a pretty full plate. Luckily for our members and practitioners of all kinds and for homeowners and all property owners, the REALTORS® have invested the time, resources, and involvement to have strong input in what moves forward from these proposals.
By the time the IAR Capitol Conference rolls around on April 5, we’ll have a pretty good idea of the issues that are in solid contention for moving forward this legislative session—and that’s when the strong voice of hundreds of our members descending on the Illinois State Capitol for a day can really reinforce the message your lobbyists are delivering every day.
In the meantime, we’ll do our best to handle the onslaught of legislation and make sure the voice for real estate is heard loud and clear under the dome.
See you on April 5 and remember— if you receive a Call to Action on a bill, you can really help out by taking a minute to contact your legislator!
Thanks for your interest. Stay informed and involved at www.IARActionCenter.org.