March 4, 2022 State Capitol Report

Your Voices Were Heard!

On Thursday, February 24th, a CALL FOR ACTION went out to alert REALTORS® about HB2775. HB2775 (Rep. LaShawn Ford – 8th, Chicago/Senator Ram Villivalam, D-8th, Chicago) would have MANDATED all rental housing providers to participate in ALL local, state, federal or private subsidy or assistance programs, and comply with the requirements and restrictions of these programs, if an applying tenant qualifies for those programs. The legislation also included other onerous provisions, including giving tenants an “affirmative defense” to an eviction if the tenant “would have” qualified for housing aid. The bill was a HUGE expansion of what the legislation has historically called for in the past.

After months of negations, language has been agreed upon and an amendment is expected to be offered soon. The amendment removes the massive expansion mandating landlords to participate in all assistance programs, and also removes the ancillary onerous provisions. Illinois REALTORS® will SUPPORT the amendment that greatly narrows the bill but will maintain tacit opposition to the measure.

Illinois REALTORS® has always supported the Housing Choice Voucher Program and believes that the program is very advantageous for both landlords and tenants in many circumstances but realize that participation in all programs should not be mandated, as some of the programs impose substantial requirements and burdens on landlords. As of today, nearly 4,000 messages have been sent to your respective Senators. We cannot THANK YOU enough, your member engagement is exactly why we have a powerful and impactful voice at the Capitol!

This Week in Springfield

The House returned to Springfield this week for scheduled session days, as today was the 3rd reading deadline for House bills to be voted on in order to be sent to the Senate. Being a deadline week, several committee hearings took place as legislators revised their bills pursuant to input during the committee process. Below are the highlights of legislation that the Illinois REALTORS® Legislative Team are actively engaged in and that moved in the legislative process this week.

The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (IRELA) put together a legislative proposal to make various updating and clean-up changes to the Illinois Real Property Disclosure Act, and met with Illinois REALTORS® to review the proposed changes. Following input, a few tweaks, and a shared commitment among IRELA and the REALTORS® that the bill would NOT be used to add more itemized statements to the current list of 23 on the form, HB4322 (Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-25st, Chicago) was advanced out of committee with our support, and the measure passed the House 111-0-0. We appreciate both IRELA and Rep. Tarver for their commitment to making this a focused, narrow bill that had our input and support.

Speaking of proposals to add more items to the list of 23 on the seller disclosure form…Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (D-81st, Downers Grove) introduced HB5131 to add item 24, “I am aware of unsafe concentrations of or unsafe conditions relating to mold on the premises.” REALTORS®, you are well aware of the fact that the seller disclosure form is not the appropriate place (if there is one) to deal with mold issues.

We took the time to meet and go through this issue with Rep. Stava-Miurray, who introduced the bill as a result of a constituent who allegedly had bought a house and subsequently suffered respiratory or other difficulties perhaps caused by mold on the premises. Together with the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (IRELA) and the Illinois Home Inspectors Association, we discussed the fact that since there is no uniform local state or national standard as to what types of mold constitute a hazard, how much is dangerous, and to whom it is a hazard, it is impossible for any homeowner to gauge whether they have a disclosable mold issue or not. With the lack of approved government-sanctioned standards for inspection and remediation, putting the mold issue on the form may lead buyers and sellers to incur substantial costs for mold inspection and remediation work, when no standards exist for what they do. One of the important points the group educated the Representative on is that moisture-related issues on the form were perhaps the best place to start in searching for the possibility of mold in a dwelling.

Following these discussions, we appreciate the fact that Rep. Stava-Murray did NOT advance HB5131, and we agreed to discuss this issue with her further in the future if she is interested.

HB3125 (Rep. Gabel, D-18th, Evanston) Creates the Electric Vehicle Charging Act, that mandates requirements for parking spaces that are electrical vehicle ready. The bill would apply to new or renovated residential buildings, including single-family home and multi-family housing construction. Illinois REALTORS® testified in opposition toHB3125in the House Energy and Environment Committee. We believe that housing developments should and will provide adequate facilities to meet the personal transportation needs of residents, whatever they may be and however they evolve. HB3125 assumes that rechargeable battery electric vehicles will be a predominant transportation mode far into the future, which may or may not occur. Even if we assume that rechargeable electric cars are, indeed, the wave of the future, we all know how quickly technology changes. If we mandate developers to pre-install infrastructure based on today’s technology but tomorrow’s demand, we risk imposing unnecessary expenses that may even be more expensive to retool if technology changes. Developers can and will meet the charging needs of residents without this mandate. Imposing this unnecessary requirement will simply drive up the cost of housing unnecessarily. HB3125 passed on the House floor with a vote of 68-35-0. The Illinois REALTORS® Legislative Team will continue to OPPOSE the bill as written in the Senate and have offered to amend the bill to make HB3125 an incentive-based program and not a mandatory requirement.

HB4902 (Rep. Amy Grant, R-42nd. Wheaton) The bill, as amended, seeks to mandate that Condo HOA’s provide the board’s meeting AGENDA to all residents 48 hours prior to all board meetings. The Illinois REALTORS® OPPOSED this bill. Agendas are not defined in law, therefore not a legal document nor should they be treated as such. In addition, many HOA’s do not complete their agendas until moments before a meeting, allowing residents the opportunity to add important agenda items for discussion at the last minute. After numerous conversations with the sponsor and her staff, the sponsor agreed to hold the bill. We appreciate her further understanding of this issue.

HB5412 (Rep. Evans, D-33rd, Chicago) After successful negotiations by the Illinois REALTORS® Legislative Team, homeowners will be exempt from this bill requiring that primary contractors pay the unpaid wages of an employee who is the victim of wage theft by a subcontractor of the primary contractor.  Prior to the amended version, homeowners acting as the primary contractor on the construction or remodeling of their primary residence would have been covered by this new law. This has been an extremely controversial bill for several years, pitting labor groups against business groups and certain contractor organizations. Illinois REALTORS® was one of the only groups whose requested changes were made to the bill. Although the bill is still opposed by numerous business groups it passed on the House floor with a 62-36-0 vote and now will be sent to the Senate.

On behalf of a joint effort of Illinois REALTORS® and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-77th, Northlake) introduced HB5167, which makes various agreed changes sought by the Department, and it contains other minor updates and clarifications. Illinois REALTORS® SUPPORTS this bill, which passed on the Consent Calendar 104-0-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

HB4786 (Rep. Stava Murray, D-81st, Downers Grove) Meetings were held with the sponsor on this bill to restrict landlords from requiring only electronic transfers for rental payments and not allowing other means of payment. The bill, as amended, would also remove penalty caps for landlords. The bill has been held on Second Reading in the House and is not expected to be sent to the Senate.

HB4939 (Rep. Kifowit, D-84, Aurora) The bill would require landlords to pay for mold tests and the removal of mold if found in Senior-living residences. We OPPOSE this bill because no standards exist to measure mold. The bill was held on Second Reading in the House and is not expected to advance.

Next Week At A Glance

Both the House and Senate will return to Springfield next week and will begin focusing on bills from the opposite chamber. The Illinois REALTORS® Legislative Team was involved in many negotiating sessions this week on bills that were of vital importance to REALTORS®. Your Illinois REALTORS® Legislative Team continues negotiating and amending bills to remove our opposition but are very pleased to report that the list of bills we oppose has shrunk considerably. Remaining issues on the table needing our engagement include electric vehicles charging infrastructure, assessments, vacant property, forms of rent control and sealing of eviction records. Your Legislative Team remains ever vigilant and actively engaged on all issues affecting the real estate industry and private property rights, as always, STAY TUNED!

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April 25, 2023