Changes to the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure


When most home sellers list their property with a real estate agent or listing broker, those sellers routinely fill out what is known as a “Residential Real Property Disclosure Report”. The “report”, required of many home sellers by law, is made up of a series of questions intended to elicit the disclosure of certain conditions of the property. The report requires disclosure of issues such as leakage, defects, and unsafe conditions to potential buyers. Continue reading


After years of wrangling with the Democrats, the GOP initiative to give a tax break to homeowners was approved as part of the sweeping new Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. The old way of determining gains on the sale of real estate were thrown out and replaced with an entirely new system.  Now, most home sellers will be able to exclude certain amounts gain from the sale of their principal residence from capital gains tax – even if they do not purchase another home. Continue reading

Cook County property tax reassessment

Callers to the Cook County Assessor’s Office during July or August may have noticed that their requests were politely rebuffed with the phrase “I’m sorry, our computer is down, I can’t get that information.” The reason: Cook County computers are working furiously to get out the second installment of 1997 property tax bills. Property taxes are paid in “arrears”. That is, tax is paid this year for ownership of the property in the previous year. In Cook County, property tax bills come out twice a year. Continue reading

Cumulative Voting in Illinois Corporate Law

In a democratic society, the majority vote wins. Democratic societies sometimes devise alternate structures to provide for the protection of the minority. In the United States, a bicameral legislature and a separation of powers, especially the power of the judiciary, are generally thought to be sufficient to protect the rights and interests of the minority.

In a corporation, the majority also rules. However, Continue reading

What if an Illinois Landlord Refuses to Make Repairs

Residential Tenant’s Right to Repair Act

On January 1, 2005, a new law, the Illinois Residential Tenant’s Right to Repair Act goes into effect throughout Illinois.  The law allows residential tenants, in certain instances, to withhold a portion of their monthly rent and instead use that money to make repairs to a rental unit. Continue reading

Don’t make a federal case of it – Federal laws and landlords

Often, clients are surprised to learn that the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance applies only within the City of Chicago!  They then ask: “what law does apply to my tenants?”  There are a number of laws that can govern a landlord-tenant relationship, they are: Federal Law, State Law, Common (Case) Law, Local Law and Contract Law.  This article points out some (but probably not all) of the laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship.  Let’s take a look at Federal Laws First. Continue reading

The Law of Lead Based Paint

Recent regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in conjunction with HUD’s campaign to prevent lead based paint poisoning, regarding the disclosure of lead based paint hazards has gone into effect. The laws can be found at 24 CFR Part 35 and 40 CFR Part 745. As a result, home sellers, real estate brokers, and landlord’s may be subject to liability for lead based paint hazards and home sellers and landlord’s may even be subject to lead paint removal. Continue reading

The “price” of tenant evictions: costs in an Illinois eviction


To many clients and prospective clients, one of the most important questions for a landlord is “How much will an eviction lawsuit this cost me?”  Attorneys fees aside, costs are the single most determining factor in whether or not to go ahead with a forcible entry and detainer case. The costs of an eviction that begins with filing and ends with a sheriff’s eviction can be substantial. Continue reading

The art of finding the right tenant

First things first! Choosing a tenant is not an easy process. First, landlords face the notion of non-discrimination in picking a prospective tenant. State and Federal law prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants based upon race, sex, age, gender, family status or size, nationality or disbility. As long as a landlord has a legitimate business based reason for denying a rental to a prospective tenant, such as bad credit or negative references, a landlord may reject a prospective tenant. The non-discrimination laws are complex and I will not be dealt with them here. Instead, this article will detail some hints in finding a “good” tenant. Continue reading