COVID-19 Advocacy Update | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® is working on your behalf to ensure your interests are represented at each level of government during the COVID-19 crisis. Things are changing quickly, so we’ve put together the following list of resources and answers we currently have. We’ve also noted the questions to which we are still actively seeking answers.

We appreciate your feedback during this time! For government affairs matters, please contact Adriann Murawski or Kristopher J. Anderson.

Visit COVID-19: What You Need to Know for full COVID-19 news and updates including FAQs. Please check back frequently, as this is updated daily!

CITY OF CHICAGO

Things We Know & Current Resources:

  • Chicago City Hall is closed to the public until further notice, but most services are available online.
  • The March City Council meeting has been postponed.
  • Mayor Lightfoot has encouraged landlords to work with tenants experiencing a loss of income while also advising the lending community to delay foreclosures. If you are a landlord who has done a good deed for your tenants during this difficult time, we’d love to hear about it! Email us.
  • The City of Chicago is still offering rental assistance. Tenants may reach out via the 311 website, the Family & Support Services website or app to receive directions on how to move forward.
  • For parents of Chicago Public School children, the Mayor announced CPS will resume school on April 21st (please note: this is subject to change!).
  • TRANSFER TAX STAMPS: Authorized users (aka title companies) will still be able to purchase and print stamps and the city will be issuing Full Payment Certificates.
  • WATER METERS: As long as a property owner allows DWM access to the meter located in a building for meter reads, as needed, there should be no interruptions. There are over 300,000 metered accounts that can be read remotely and fewer than 7,000 metered accounts that have to be read onsite – these are generally large meters, not residential. Currently, over 95% of full payment certificates are completed online, and most are completely self-service, with the certificate arriving via email, once the online payment is made. The online payment is prompted via email. The department is available via email if you have questions. Rest assured: at some point, you will be able to confirm that the parcel in question has no outstanding debt, and DWM is willing and able to work with you through any exceptions.
  • You can access Chicago’s coronavirus updates here.

COOK COUNTY

Things We Know & Current Resources:

  • Cook County will not have board meetings in March, April and May.
  • The Cook County Sheriff’s Office suspended court-ordered evictions until April 14th.
  • The Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office is closed to the public but will process documents online.
  • The Cook County Treasurer’s Office is closed, however, payments can be made online and at remote locations (this includes most Chase Bank locations, although the timeline for processing is unclear – we are working to confirm this for you!).
  • Berwyn: The City of Berwyn issued a “Real Estate Transfer Procedures During Shelter in Place Order” on March 23. This provides direction to ensure real estate transactions move forward. Both real estate transfer stamps and water meter readings are processed electronically. Appointments must be made two (2) business days before property transfers. A revision was posted on March 26 that updated the office hours for appointments to process transfer stamp requests. Please refer to the City of Berwyn’s Real Estate Transfer Guidelines.
  • Cicero: The Treasurer’s office is considered an essential service that is open and processing payments. Hours have changed in response to COVID-19. City of Cicero Executive Order 2020-02.

STATE OF ILLINOIS

Things We Know & Current Resources:

  • The Illinois General Assembly legislative session is suspended for the time being, so state matters are on hold.
  • The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has extended the broker renewal and continuing education deadlines until September 30, 2020. We recommend completing your CE online while you have any downtime, as we are unsure when classroom courses will be able to resume!
  • The deadline to file your state income taxes has been extended from April 15 to July 15, aligning with the federal government’s extension.
  • On March 26, Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order (COVID-19 Order No. 12) providing for Remote Online Notary (RON). RON will allow witnessing requirements to be completed by audio-video avoiding physical contact between two parties. For additional guidance visit the Secretary of State Guidance for Remote Notaries and Consumers.
  • Visit the Illinois REALTORS® Local Government Update for information across the state regarding County Recorder’s offices and the Processing Municipal Real Estate Transfer Taxes and other Transfer Requirements.

Items We Are Seeking Clarification On:

  • Not all municipalities in Illinois are processing documents related to the real estate transaction. The Illinois Municipal League left the decision to municipalities to determine what is an essential municipal service/function, and transfer tax was not specifically mentioned or included in their directive. So far, it looks like most towns are being sensitive to this fact and figuring out how to do this remotely.
  • While real estate was deemed an essential service and title companies will remain open, the other aspects of a transaction and how those functions are executed are not strictly dictated by the Executive Order and may be a business decision. If a home inspector or appraiser chooses to still perform their respective duties, please understand there may be new waivers or forms to sign and rules and procedures to follow.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Things We Know & Current Resources:

  • The National Association of REALTORS® joined other real estate and finance industry groups in a coalition letter to the U.S. House and Senate leadership urging them to support emergency rental assistance funds for tenants not able to pay rent while also seeking financial relief to rental property owners.
  • Federal legislation was signed into law on March 18, 2020: the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” This legislation will aid small businesses and families; however, more will need to be done to help independent contractors and the self-employed. NAR is engaging in conversations for more programs specifically tailored to the individual REALTOR®.  Learn the impact of H.R. 6201 “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” on NAR Members, and then check out the guide for what you need to know.
  • The federal legislation SECURE Notarization Act (Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020) has been introduced that would permit Remote Online Notary (eClosings, electronic notarization, etc.) nationwide. This legislation would provide the needed avenue to close transactions while practicing social distancing.
  • The deadline to file your federal taxes was moved from April 15 to July 15.
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27th. The CARES Act provides over $2 trillion of economic relief to U.S. individuals and households. For a full review of programs that will be implemented, visit NAR’s guidance page.

Lobbying Events

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Illinois REALTORS® has cancelled the annual Capitol Conference and REALTOR® Lobby Day in Springfield this April. The National Association of REALTORS®’ Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in May has been converted to an online experience.  There will be no travel for either event!

Additional Resources

Join us for a virtual Coffee with Your GADs!

Coffee with the GADs is scheduled for April 7 – please be sure to join us for the virtual meeting! Register here.