Betsy Urbance, General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Services, and Jeffrey T. Baker, Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal Services spoke about several court cases related to real estate, a few changes to state laws that began in January and debunked several myths at the Illinois REALTORS® Public Policy Meetings in East Peoria.
Urbance and Baker acknowledged the aptitude of members at the Legal Update meeting and reminded audience members — particularly managing brokers — to share their knowledge with brokers in their offices so fewer members would be confused about common issues brought to the Legal Hotline.
Baker outlined three court cases involving liens on foreclosed condominiums. In 2015, a bank that foreclosed a property had to pay $60,000 in liens incurred before the foreclosure. In 2017, the First District Appellate Court of Illinois (Chicago) offered different rulings on similar cases in March and August. In the first case, the court agreed that a bank had to pay liens owed on the property but said there was no deadline for the payment. In the second case, the bank had to pay liens but was ordered to pay them promptly. The Illinois Supreme Court did not hear appeals on either case, and so Baker said future cases would be hard to predict.
On the subject of the unclaimed property, brokerages should be aware that the Unclaimed Property Act could apply to them if they have escrow accounts. Specifically, if they are holding funds that are from 3 to 5 years old, there is a May 1 reporting date coming up. They should consult with their attorneys on this matter.
Baker reviewed changes to the Illinois Real Estate License Act that took effect Jan. 1.
Regarding the effects of federal tax law changes recently passed by Congress, Baker said brokers should consult their accountants to see how they are affected. “This tax package could affect you in completely different ways depending on your circumstances,” he said.
Urbance urged REALTORS® to make sure they have proper permission to use copyrighted materials such as photos or videos and to give proper credit to the copyright owner.