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Illinois: City of Chicago Passes Amendment to its Vacant Building Ordinance

Posted By USFN, Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 29, 2016

by Michael Anselmo
Anselmo Lindberg Oliver LLC – USFN Member (Illinois)

In July the City of Chicago passed a few minor — but noteworthy — changes to its vacant building ordinance (13-12-126). The changes, which were published on September 13, 2016, are effective 90 days later (December 12, 2016). They concern the types of vacant buildings that a mortgagee must register as vacant with the City, the deadlines for filing, and the registration fee.

The ordinance previously required that a mortgagee file a registration statement with the department of buildings for all residential buildings within the later of: 30 days after the building is vacant or 60 days after a borrower default.

The ordinance is no longer limited to residential buildings. The City Council has now expanded the requirements to all vacant buildings. Further, the timeline has been changed to 30 days after the building is vacant or 10 days after a borrower defaults.

Formerly, the mortgagee was required to pay a $500 registration fee. Now that fee is conditioned upon which timeline the registration is filed within. If the mortgagee filed within the 30-day timeline outlined above, the fee is $700. If the mortgagee files within the 10 days of default deadline, the fee is cut to $400. Further, the validity of the registration has been extended from six to twelve months from the date of registration. Unfortunately, whereas renewal was previously at no charge to the mortgagee, the ordinance now requires that a renewal fee of $700 be paid upon expiration.

Outside of those few, yet significant, changes, the ordinance remains intact. The mortgagee is still required to implement routine maintenance on these properties (such as boarding and securing entrances, cutting grass, shoveling snow, winterizing the building, posting signs, and responding to complaints relating to the building). The fine for failing to do so remains between $500 and $1,000 for each offense.

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