R Voice Chicago: Government Affairs Update

Fighting for Private Property Rights

Rounding out a busy spring, we took action on pro-landlord changes by fighting for judicial discretion and working in collaboration with the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago, the Apartment Building Owners and Managers Association, the Chicagoland Apartment Association and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Together, we advocated for over two dozen changes to the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) that aldermen approved in March. We continue to look for ways to minimize the negative impact of residential energy benchmarking rules on developers for high-rise buildings. New private property rights issues continue to rise up, including smoke-free condo buildings, rules on medical marijuana and flight paths at Midway and O’Hare International Airports. Our aggressive lobbying was met with resistance in many cases by various interest groups that seek to reduce the role of REALTORS® in real estate transactions. We are fortunate, thanks to your ideas and financial contributions to RPAC, to have held the line for REALTORS® in every fight. In the coming weeks and months, we will be at the table fighting for you and your clients. Please continue to reach out to us about your ideas and issues.

Don’t Miss Deadlines for Property Tax Appeals

Have you considered letting your past clients know about the Cook County property tax assessment appeal process? Property tax appeals are in full swing as Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios has started releasing the triennial property tax assessment notices for Chicago. Owners have just 30 days to appeal these notices. It’s important to note the assessor’s office won’t increase assessments simply because you appealed. If you have clients who are selling their property, appealing an assessment is a great opportunity to reposition a property more favorably from a property tax perspective. Educating clients with a simple reminder about the critical dates and process can help position new homeowners with a lower assessment and the potential for a lower rate. There is no doubt that your clients will see value in appealing ? and also in you as a REALTOR®. Reach out to us and we can help you understand the process, or go to www.cookcountyassessor.com for more details.

Get Involved in Your Association’s Advocacy

Please take time to attend our Government Advocacy and Property Management Forums to learn more about important current issues. Our CommercialForum also hosts events throughout the year that focus on economic development and commercial corridor issues. We encourage you to take a role in the RPAC fundraising committee and other workgroups, where the ideas you have become the policy of the membership. And those are just opportunities available at C.A.R. Through IAR, there are great events like the Public Policy meetings and the annual Capitol Conference, as well as opportunities to be a State Legislative Contact to get closer to those who represent you in Springfield. If national politics is your passion, you can work with your congressional representatives through our various programs and attend the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. every May.

New Cook County Zoning Rules

A new rule requires the seller of any property in unincorporated Cook County to apply to the Cook County Department of Building and Zoning for a zoning use certificate. This excludes condominium or coop units. The requirement will help ensure that the parties in a real estate transaction have knowledge of the zoning and permitted use of the parcel in the transaction. We played a role in providing input to the building commissioner’s office on the new form, excluding condominium and extending the life of the certificate to six months. Go to www.cookcountyil.gov/building-and-zoning to access the form, and learn more information.

Cook County Rental Regulations

The Cook County Board is focusing again on unincorporated Cook County to tighten up rental housing regulations. Recent meetings between C.A.R., the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and the county have set a platform for future discussions focusing on building code, fair housing and other aspects of rental conditions. We will keep members advised as the issues and potential ordinance emerge.

Land Bank Hires New Executive Director

Robert Rose is the new executive director of the Cook County Land Bank. Rose comes to the Cook County Land Bank from the Chicago Community Loan Fund where he served as chief operating officer. He has a background in finance, underwriting and community development. The Chicago Association of REALTORS® continues to work very closely with the land bank, and C.A.R. board member Sarah Ware holds a seat on its board.