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Brendan Ross' Blawg [Blog]

Chicago Real Estate Law

By Brendan Ross | Broker in Chicago, IL
  • New Chicago Bed Bug Ordinance Now in Effect

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Chicago, For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  December 10, 2013 10:35 AM  |  484 views  |  No comments

    VIEW THE FULL POST HERE:

    Earlier this year, on June 5, 2013, the City Council passed an ordinance targeted at controlling the bed bug problem in Chicago. The new Chicago be bug ordinance provides for fines of up to $1000 per day for non-compliance, so landlords should take notice. Just in time for Christmas, this new law is now in effect. This post will summarize the key points of the new ordinance from the landlord’s perspective and the tenant’s perspective:

    Landlord Responsibilities

    • Must supply a tenant starting or renewing a lease with an informational brochure
    • Must maintain a written record of bed bug control efforts
    • Must send a written notice to the tenant explaining their responsibilities before a bed bug inspection
    • Must provide pest control services when bed bugs are found by a pest management professional as many times as necessary to eliminate the problem
    • Must inspect within 10 days and treat if necessary the two units on either side as well as the two units above and below of the infested unit

    Tenant Responsibilities

    • Must notify the landlord in writing of any suspected or known infestation in the tenant’s unit, clothing, furniture or personal property within 5 days
    • Must notify the landlord in writing of any recurring or unexplained bites, stings or sores suspected to be caused by bed bugs
    • Must cooperate with the landlord in the control, treatment, and eradication of bed bugs including:
      • granting access at reasonable times upon reasonable notice for inspections and treatment
      • preparing the unit prior to treatment (e.g. cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming)
      • properly disposing of personal property that cannot be treated or cleaned before the pest control services

    Disposal of Infested Items

    The Chicago bed bug ordinance outlines the legally acceptable procedure for disposing of bedding, clothing, furnishings or other infested materials.  For example, you may not place, discard or dispose of any infested items on the public way (e.g. dumpsters, sidewalks, and hallways).  To dispose of an infested item, you must enclose it in a plastic bag and label it as infested.  Doing so should prevent neighbors from bringing it into their home, thereby helping to abate the spread of bed bugs.

    The Chicago bed bug ordinance will be enforced by the Department of Buildings and the Department of Public Health.  If any person is found violating the ordinance, that person may be fined $300.00 to $1,000 per day for each offense.  By complying with the ordinance, these fees can be avoided.   The full ordinance can be found HERE.

    Brendan Ross is a licensed real estate broker and attorney in Chicago.

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Change Short Sales and HAFA Policy

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Foreclosure in Chicago  |  June 26, 2013 6:11 PM  |  704 views  |  1 comment


    From our friends at NAR:

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) announced changes to their Standard Short Sale and HAFA guidelines to improve transparency and marketing of listed properties that will require GSE approval.

    Starting Aug.1, 2013, any property being considered for short sale approval must be listed on the multiple listing service (MLS) for five consecutive days, including one weekend, prior to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac approving a short sale offer. Both GSEs will require that printed copies of the property's MLS listings in the geographic area in which the property is located.

    For more information, see Fannie Mae's June 19th servicing announcement at the following link HERE (PDF).

  • How to Make Sure Your Chicago Rental Agreement is Legal

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Chicago, Rental Basics in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  June 16, 2013 8:32 AM  |  781 views  |  No comments



    Chicago RLTO 5-12-140 - Rental Agreement Guidelines and Prohibitions

    Except as otherwise specifically provided by this chapter, no rental agreement may provide that the landlord or tenant:

    (a) agrees to waive or forego rights, remedies or obligations provided under this chapter;

    (b) authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement;

    (c) agrees to the limitation of any liability of the landlord or tenant arising under law;

    (d) agrees to waive any written termination of tenancy notice or manner of service thereof provided under state law or this chapter;

    (e) agrees to waive the right of any party to a trial by jury;

    (f) agrees that in the event of a lawsuit arising out of the tenancy the tenant will pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees except as provided for by court rules, statute, or ordinance;

    (g) agrees that either party may cancel or terminate a rental agreement at a different time or within a shorter time period than the other party, unless such provision is disclosed in a separate written notice;

    (h) agrees that a tenant shall pay a charge, fee or penalty in excess of $10.00 per month for the first $500.00 in monthly rent plus 5% per month for any amount in excess of $500.00 in monthly rent for the late payment of rent; and

    (i) agrees that, if a tenant pays rent before a specified date or within a specified time period in the month, the tenant shall receive a discount or reduction in the rental amount in excess of $10.00 per month for the first $500.00 in monthly rent plus 5% per month for any amount in excess of $500.00 in monthly rent.

    A provision prohibited by this section included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. The tenant may recover actual damages sustained by the tenant because of the enforcement of a prohibited provision. If the landlord attempts to enforce a provision in a rental agreement prohibited by this section the tenant may recover two months rent. Prior code § 193.1-14; Added Council Journal of Proceedings, September 8, 1986, page 33771; Amend. Council Journal of Proceedings, November 6, 1991, pages 7215 — 7216)

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    Brendan Ross is a licensed real estate broker and attorney in Chicago.
  • Advice for Buyers of Short Sales

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago, Foreclosure in Chicago  |  April 18, 2013 8:22 AM  |  750 views  |  4 comments



    Advice for Buyers of Short Sales


    -Typically short sales will be in decent condition; better than a foreclosure. Often times the homeowner will still be living there.

    -If you would like to purchase a short sale, you will have to be patient. It typically takes around 3-4 months if your seller's Realtor and attorney know what they are doing.

    -They are sold “as-is,” so do not expect anything to be repaired. However, i
    t is highly recommended that you still have an inspection to see if there are any major issues present.

    -Be in touch with your mortgage broker because once the short sale is approved, you will typically only have 30-40 days to close.

    -You may have to pay for some condominium documents (if applicable) because the Seller theoretically has no money to do so itself.


    Brendan Ross is a licensed real estate broker and attorney in Chicago.

  • Grounds for Evicting a Tenant in Chicago

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Chicago, For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  April 3, 2013 8:34 AM  |  1,089 views  |  2 comments

    Grounds for an Eviction

    As a landlord, you generally have the right to evict your tenant for the following reasons:

    • Non-payment of rent
    • The tenant violates the terms and conditions of the lease or the RLTO
    • The tenant causes damage to your property
    • The tenant refuses to leave once the lease term is over

    If you wish to evict your tenant for any other reason, then it very important that you speak with a real estate attorney before you proceed. The above reasons are clearly provided for in the law, and any other reason is likely not permitted.

    Unfortunately, too many landlords in Chicago are just completely unaware of the law and the penalties for noncompliance. These mistakes can end up costing the landlord tens of thousands of dollars in fines, court costs, and judgments against them.


    Brendan Ross is a licensed real estate broker and attorney in Chicago.

  • Eviction Notice Requirements

    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Chicago, For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  April 2, 2013 11:01 AM  |  945 views  |  2 comments

    Eviction Notice Requirements

    After determining that you have a valid reason for evicting your tenant, then the first step in the process is to provide notice to your tenant of your intention to do so. The type of notice that you must provide will depend on the reason for the eviction, and it is essential that proper notice procedures are followed. Serving the wrong form of notice will come back to bite you in court once you finally do file your FED action.

    • Non-payment of Rent: 5-Day Notice
      • If the tenant fails to pay rent when due, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant, and the tenant has 5 days to pay the rent. If after 5 days, the tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may terminate the lease by filing an action in the Circuit Court.
    • Violation of lease: 10-Day Notice
      • If the tenant violates a term or condition of the lease, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant. The tenant has 10 days to correct the problem. If after 10 days, the tenant still does not correct the problem, the landlord may terminate the lease by filing an action in the Circuit Court.
      • Disturbance of others exception (RLTO 5-12-130(d)): If, within 60 days after receiving a 10-Day Notice, the tenant disturbs his neighbors, in violation of RLTO 5-12-040(g), the landlord may terminate the lease on 10 days written notice to the tenant.
    • Month-to-month tenancy: 30-Day Notice
      • If the tenant is under a month-to-month lease, you can terminate it for any reason by serving a 30-day notice to your tenant. The last day of the 30-day notice period must be the last day of the lease period (e.g. for a lease ending April 30th, notice must be served on February 28th).
    Unfortunately, too many landlords in Chicago are just completely unaware of the law and the penalties for noncompliance. These mistakes can end up costing the landlord tens of thousands of dollars in fines, court costs, and judgments against them.

    Brendan Ross is a licensed real estate broker and attorney in Chicago.
  • As Realtors, getting people to like us is critical. Here are the basics

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent in Chicago  |  March 29, 2013 2:19 PM  |  493 views  |  4 comments

    How to Win Friends and Influence People

    This is Dale Carnegie's summary of his book, from 1936


    Table of Contents

    1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
    2. Six Ways to Make People Like You
    3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
    4. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

    Part One

    Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

    1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
    2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
    3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

    Part Two

    Six ways to make people like you

    1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
    2. Smile.
    3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
    4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
    5. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
    6. Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

    Part Three

    Win people to your way of thinking

    1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
    2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
    3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
    4. Begin in a friendly way.
    5. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
    6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
    7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
    8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
    9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
    10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
    11. Dramatize your ideas.
    12. Throw down a challenge.

    Part Four

    Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

    A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
    1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
    2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
    3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
    4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
    5. Let the other person save face.
    6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
    7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
    8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
    9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

    Source: www.westegg.com/unmaintained/carnegie/win-friends.html/

    Brendan Ross is a licensed real estate broker and attorney in Chicago.
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