Home Buying in Chicago>Question Details

Josua Hunt, Home Buyer in Washington, DC

Is it true most city building violation fines will be removed if the new buyer shows he/she is serious about fixing the problems?

Asked by Josua Hunt, Washington, DC Thu Aug 22, 2013

Looking to by a home with violation but was told buy an investor that previous violations fines incurred by the the previous owner can be forgiven as long as the new buyer who inherited the property attend the hearings and show he will make repairs.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Joshua,

In the city of Chicago, building code violations are filed as administrative (at 400 W. Superior) or as civil at (at the Daley Center). Certain violations follow the property, others follow the owner. Building code violation fines follow the owner. You should have an attorney look into the violations to limit your exposure. If a prospective buyer is willing to step into court and assume responsibility, most judges or ALJs will allow you time to remediate before re-inspecting. Good luck.

Attorney Ranj Mohip is a Chicago real estate attorney. The information in this answer is general information and is not intended as legal advice. Further, answering this question or otherwise contributing as a member of Trulia.com does not create an attorney-client relationship. Remember--consult the best real estate attorney in Chicago or in your respective area. Contact us at http://www.ChicagoRealEstateAttorney.com for more information.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 26, 2013
Read David Hanna's response. That may not be the answer you want to hear, but that is the correct answer. If you buy that home, NO ONE can tell what the final disposition of those building code violations and fines are going to be. If you take title to that property those violations and fines are going to be your responsibility. Reading your previous posts, I don't think you are in a financial position to assume such a risk.
Nick Radakovich Home Sales Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
We have bought and sold buildings like this. It is not a sure thing the fines will be forgiven, and you assume all responsibility for them when you hold the property deed.
Depending on the nature of the violation, and whether or not there is a loan, you may find the sale cannot be completed without funds being set aside for repairs, permits being pulled and getting title insurance will be a problem.
If you understand the risk, you can make a decision about whether or not this is a good investment, but don't assume the fines will not fall on you even after the violations are fixed.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013

What is the violation? Generally speaking, the City of Chicago (or any municipality) has very little to gain forgiving a violation based on good intent. Violations will be transferred with the address and will be on the property until they have been properly cleared. The process for clearing the violation can vary widely based on the violation, which court is hearing the case, which City Department is handling the violation, etc.

More information is needed to give you good advice.

Erik Sachs
RpV Realty and Development
Cell 773/368-5515
Email esachs@rpvinc.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
Is that investor trying to sell you the building with violations? You need to clean up your credit, so you can buy a decent property and you need to work with a good realtor.
Nick Radakovich Home Sales Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
I say this with respect but why is it better to take out a 60,000 loan that will incur tons of interest on a house that will require repairs and may still have violations oppose to buying a fixer upper that will require no loan but will take some time and a couple thousand to repair.
Flag Thu Aug 22, 2013
Call the building department and ask. I'm sure it probably depends greatly on the type of violations, how long they have been in place and the seriousness of them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 15, 2013
best to hire and expert for the right advise on this one
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
I would expect this to be a case-by-case situation. Talk to the reps in your city. Get it in writing!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
Of course I will make the repairs, I plan on using the property as a primary residence. Many say they might work with me some say its impossible and others are saying it makes no sense. I am saying this with respect, I only want comments from people who actually dealt with this issue not from people who are guessing, I can guess myself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
These types of properties probably already have cases filed against them. Once you ID some properties call the city and get the details about the cases and the city attorney assigned to them and talk to them about what they want to clear the matters. No 2 properties will be treated the same. Each city lawyer will have their own flexibilities. Then you have the variability of the judge and are they in a good mood. Keep in mind judges want to clear cases off their docket. Without having a particular property in mind, all you are going to get is a guess. You are going to have to do more of the leg work and have the budget to make the repairs. No one can give you an "if this, then that". Same situations will have different outcomes. Some how had been through this cannot tell you letter and verse this is what will happen, unless it is the exact same violations with the same city lawyer and judge.
Flag Fri Aug 23, 2013
Not only must you show up and state you will make the repairs but eventually you have to show that the repairs have been completed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
That makes no sense, but go and confirm it with the city building department
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
That makes no sense, but go and confirm it with the city building department
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 23, 2013
No. The city likes to see proof.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
You need to show more than good faith. You'll need permits!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
I can imaging the city would work with you, but they will want proof that repairs are done, not just intentions, before they close the case(s). The would probably give you time to make the repairs. I suggest call the city or go on the Frequently Asked Questions sections of their web site for a more definitive answer. If you call the correct department, they will give you the details you need. Also call the water department to find out how they treat the unpaid water bills. They estimate in may lower income areas and even if the water is not running, there are huge bills that are never forgiven due to estimated usage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 22, 2013
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