We Are Chicago Lawyers That Understand Real Estate Law
The legal definition of real property is land and anything growing on it or affixed to it or built upon it. That is, man made buildings are real property as are crops. Real property can be characterized as property that is stationary or it doesn’t move. It can also be classified as real property if it is attached to the land. Real estate is the same as real property and both terms can be used in the same sense. Real estate or real property also includes anything that might be under the property. This might include oil or gases or even minerals that can be found under ground.
Real property, as well as personal property, can be transferred. All sales involving real estate or real property need to be in writing. That way there is a record of the transfer. Real property cannot be moved, so there is a symbolic transfer that needs to occur before the transfer is recognized. In most situations, this is done by a deed transfer.
Private property is property that is commonly owned by an individual or in some cases a group of people. Public property is real property that is owned by a city, county, state or federal government. There are different laws governing private property and public property.
If you have any questions or concerns with property conflicts, you might want to hire an attorney. We are Logan Law, LLC and we understand real estate law and stand prepared to represent you. We pride ourselves in providing Chicago residents with expertise and sophistication without the hassle some other firms have.
New Procedures Announced in Daley Center Eviction Cases with Jury Demand
Effective April, 2015, the Presiding Judge of the First Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois announced a new procedure for eviction cases where the defendant files a demand for a jury trial.
Eviction cases which are assigned to the Daley Center are initially assigned at random to one of five courtrooms which hear only non-jury cases. Under the new procedure, when a defendant files a demand for trial by jury, the case is then transferred to room 1301 on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday within ten (10) days after the transfer order is entered. On the appointed day, the case is then assigned to a jury trial judge and courtroom.
All further matters in the case, including motions for discovery and for use and occupancy, are then heard by the assigned jury trial judge.
This replaces the current procedure under which jury cases were re-assigned to a single courtroom (Courtroom 1501) and all motions or other proceedings before trial were handled in Courtroom 1501. Under current practice, the case was only transferred to a jury trial judge on the date of trial
Feel free to contact an experienced Illinois landlord eviction law attorney at Logan Law, LLC if you have questions about the new procedure or any other area of the laws governing landlords and tenants
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2015 Changes to the Illinois Condominium Property Act Improve the Rights of Illinois Condominium Associations to Lease Units Obtained in Eviction Proceedings
Several legislative changes have been made in the Illinois Condominium Property Act, effective with the beginning of 2015.
In one important change, an Illinois condominium association’s rights with respect to a unit obtained in an eviction proceeding have been both improved as well as clarified. Under the new rules, an association which obtains possession of a unit in an assessment eviction proceeding has eight months after the month in which the end of the stay of enforcement of the eviction order occurs to lease the unit. The lease of the unit may be as long as 13 months. If the association fails to enter into a lease commencing within the eight month period or if the rents received within the lease period are not sufficient to make the association whole, the association must obtain approval from the eviction court to enter into a new lease or extend an old lease.
The association may, with interim court approvals as noted above, continue to lease the unit until it has collected 100% of past due assessments, statutory interest (at 9% per annum) under the unpaid judgment amount, attorney’s fees and court costs incurred in the eviction action, reasonable expenses necessary to make the unit rentable and finally all new assessments and other proper charges which accrue during the period after the eviction judgment was obtained. The eviction court retains jurisdiction to determine the reasonableness of expenses of re-renting the unit.
If you have any questions about condominium association assessment collection or other aspects of Illinois condominium law, Logan Law, LLC can give you the answer. Feel free to contact Logan Law, LLC at any time.
Selling Chicagoland Real Estate – The Attorney Review Paragraph
Commonly available printed form contracts for the purchase and sale of real estate in the Chicago Metropolitan area contain a paragraph which is very useful for both buyers and sellers. The paragraph is commonly referred to as “Attorney Review” or “Attorney Modification”. Under the terms of the paragraph, attorneys for both buyer and seller have a set period of time after the contract is signed by both buyer and seller and initial earnest money is deposited to review the contract and propose changes. The period is usually five to ten business days. This allows the buyer and seller to agree on the basic terms of the deal, such as purchase price, closing date and mortgage contingency, before going to the expense of employing an attorney.
Once the contract is signed, the executed contract is delivered to the attorneys for the buyer and seller. They can then review the contract, confer with their client as to any issues, clauses or wording of concern to them and then propose appropriate changes in the contract to the attorney for the other side. In most cases, proposed changes can be worked out and the contract then proceeds to closing. However, if the parties’ attorneys cannot reach agreement, either attorney can terminate the contract, in which case the initial earnest money is returned and the property put back on the market. As a kind of safety blanket to real estate buyers and sellers allowing them to sign otherwise binding agreements before they hire an attorney, the Illinois courts have held that the attorney may disapprove the contract during the attorney review period for basically any reason.
Feel free to contact an Illinois attorney experienced in handling all aspects of real estate closings for both buyers and sellers at Logan Law, LLC, if you have questions about the sale of your Chicago area real estate or any other area of the laws governing the purchase or sale of real estate.
Security Deposit Rules for Chicago Landlords
The Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance (“RLTO”) applies to all Chicago residential properties in which the owner does not reside or which contain more than six residential units. For landlords who are subject to RLTO, accepting a security deposit means the landlord must literally cross a minefield of possible penalties. The situation is so extreme that it has led a number of Chicago landlords to discontinue the time honored practice of requiring the traditional security deposit in the amount of one month’s rent, in favor of requiring a non-refundable move-in fee usually equal to a fraction of a month’s rent.
The reason for this extreme reaction is that RLTO basically imposes absolute liability in the amount of two times the security deposit, plus the attorney fees of the tenant’s attorney, for violation of each of a variety of technical rules as to the receipt, handling and return of security deposits. The provision of attorney fees for the tenant’s attorney has even given rise to a group of attorneys who make most or all of their income from suing landlords.
The rules are many:
1. Security deposits must be held in a federally insured interest bearing account in an Illinois financial institution.
2. Security deposits must be in an account completely separate from and not commingled with any funds of the landlord.
3. The name and address of the financial institution holding the deposit must be conspicuously disclosed in the written rental agreement signed by the tenant or if there is not a written rental agreement, by a written notice given to the tenant within 14 days of receipt of the deposit.
4. The tenant must be given a receipt when the deposit is received which specifies the amount of the deposit, the name of the person accepting the deposit, and if that person is an agent, the name of the landlord, the date of receipt and a description of the dwelling unit rented.
5. If a security deposit is retained for more than six months, the landlord must pay interest on the security deposit, at the rate specified by the Chicago Comptroller each year, within 30 days after the end of each anniversary of the beginning of the lease term.
6. When the tenant vacates the dwelling unit, the landlord is required to return the security deposit within 45 days after the tenant has vacated.
The landlord may deduct from the returned deposit any unpaid rent and a reasonable amount to repair damages to the unit. If any amount is deducted for damage, the landlord must deliver to the tenant within 30 days an itemized list of the damages and the estimated or actual costs of repair or replacement. If an estimate is provided, then within 30 days, the landlord must provide copies of paid receipts or if the work is performed by the landlord’s employees, a certification of the actual costs of the repairs.
Feel free to contact an experienced Illinois landlord attorney at Logan Law, LLC if you have questions about the handling of security deposits for properties subject to RLTO or any other area of the laws governing landlords and tenants.
The Use of Living Trusts in Illinois Estate Planning
One of the more useful tools used by Illinois Estate Planning attorneys is the inter vivos trust, also commonly known as a living trust. This is a trust created by someone during their lifetime and then “funded” by transferring assets from the name of the person who created the trust (the “grantor”) into the name of the trustee. The estate planner generally combines the living trust with what is called a “pour over” will, which is intended to take care of any assets which remain in the testator’s name at the time of his or her death. The pour over will provides that any assets in the testator’s name at the time of his or her death “pour over” into the trust, which contains the complete dispositive estate plan.
Living trusts typically can be amended or revoked by the grantor at any time or times. To the extent assets are transferred into the trust during lifetime, the trust creator can avoid probate at death or in addition, the often much costlier and longer lasting need for a probate court guardianship of the estate of a grantor who suffers a stroke or other debilitating condition rendering him unable to handle his affairs during his lifetime.
The grantor of the living trust can name himself the initial trustee during his lifetime, thus retaining complete flexibility and control over the assets in the trust. Under Internal Revenue Service rules, the trust can be simply ignored during the grantor’s lifetime, with all income and expense reported by the grantor under his or her social security number on his or her 1040 annual tax return. Further, the trust is ignored for such important issues as qualification of a residence transferred to the trust for purposes of the real estate tax homestead, senior and senior freeze exemptions.
Feel free to contact an Illinois estate planning attorney experienced in the use of living trusts at Logan Law, LLC, if you have questions about the use of trusts in your estate plan or any other area of the laws governing Illinois estate planning or Illinois probate or estate administration.
Real Estate Sellers Must Disclose Known Defects
Sellers of Illinois properties improved with one to four residential dwelling units are required to disclose to buyers any knowledge they have of building defects. The Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act requires sellers to complete, execute and deliver a residential Real Property Disclosure Report before any contract to sell real estate is executed.
The Disclosure Report requires Illinois real estate sellers to disclose any knowledge they have of any building defects, including but not limited to flooding, recurring leakage, defects in basements roofs, foundations, plumbing or electrical problems as well as defects in the heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems. If prior to closing the real estate, the seller becomes aware that the Disclosure Report is in any respect inaccurate, the seller has a duty to supplement the Report in writing.
An Illinois real estate seller is not liable for errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the real estate Disclosure Report if the seller had no knowledge of the inaccuracy, reasonably believed the defect had been corrected or if the inaccuracy was based upon information furnished by a public agency, licensed professional or by a competent contractor which relied upon by the seller.
Feel free to contact an Illinois attorney experienced in handling all aspects of representing real estate sellers in Chicago area real estate closings at Logan Law, LLC, if you have questions about sale of your Chicago area real estate or any other area of the laws governing the purchase or sale of real estate.
A Word of Caution for Illinois Landlords – “Actual Possession” Doesn’t Have its Common Sense Meaning in an Illinois Eviction
Many Illinois landlords have been surprised to learn for the first time when they appear in eviction court that the words of the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer Act (the Illinois Eviction Statute) and the Proof of Service sections of common printed forms of tenancy termination forms regarding Service Posting do not, in fact, have their common sense meaning. Section 5/9-104 of the Illinois Eviction Statute and common published forms provide that notices may be served by “posting the same on the premises” under the situation where “no one is in actual possession of the premises.”
Using the common meaning of the terms, many Illinois landlords have concluded that if when they go to serve a Five Day or other notice on the tenant and no one is home, then they can serve the notice by simply tacking it up or “posting” the notice on the front door or entry of the premises. They proceed to sit out the notice period and then file suit for eviction. Only when they finally appear before the judge at trial (often five weeks or more after visiting the tenant to serve the notice) do they find out that the Eviction Statute simply does not mean what it appears to say. Instead, they are informed by the eviction judge that the Illinois Appellate Court has held the real meaning of the Statute in that a Five Day or other termination notice may be served by posting it, only if the tenant has actually moved out. Service by posting is not good service where the tenant has not actually moved out of the premises, but is avoiding service or is simply not home when the landlord comes to call.
Unfortunately, the consequence to the landlord is severe. His suit for eviction is dismissed, and he must start again from square one, with the service of a new Notice to Terminate the Tenancy. The only consolation to Cook County landlords is that many of the Cook County eviction judges are willing to provide, in the dismissal order, that the filing fees of a new action, based upon a newly served Termination Notice, are waived.
Feel free to contact an experienced Illinois landlord eviction law attorney at Logan Law, LLC, if you have questions about how to properly serve eviction notices or any other area of the laws governing landlords and tenants.