Whether REALTORS® want to watch a webinar a day or binge-watch multiple episodes in an afternoon, they’ll appreciate the easy access to the Illinois REALTORS® RELA Legal Update Web Series.

REALTORS® can use Amazon’s digital voice assistant, Alexa, to listen to a podcast of the first webinar episode. First state the command, “Alexa, open Illinois REALTORS®” and then ask for “podcast.” REALTORS® who want to see the next five episodes must login at the RELA Rewrite page. They can view them in chronological order or take them out of sequence. They can be watched over and over.

Episode 1, Introduction & History, explains how the association began working on the project more than a year before the law’s Dec. 31, 2019 expiration date.

Knowing that all Illinois license laws sunset every 10 years, General Counsel Betsy Urbance says the association formed three task forces – Business Issues, Regulation and Education – and asked participants to develop ideas and initiatives to protect the rights of private property owners and REALTORS®. The task forces then took their ideas to the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors for approval, and the ones that survived were forwarded to the Illinois REALTORS® Legal Team. The Legal staff prepared language for proposed RELA revisions during the 2018 election campaign.

But Urbance says a hotly contested gubernatorial race forced the association to wait.

It wasn’t until after the November 2018 elections that Illinois REALTORS® could work with a new administration at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Division of Real Estate. After months of discussions, new legislation was passed by the General Assembly and changes took effect the day Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law, Aug. 9, 2019.

In addition, Illinois REALTORS® has continued to negotiate with IDFPR on rules changes that will affect members.

The most important RELA changes include:

  • Changing references of “leasing agents” to “residential leasing agents,”
  • Changing references of those managing brokers overseeing offices from “managing brokers” to “designated managing brokers,”
  • Allowing real estate business in an electronic environment (virtual offices and electronic record keeping),
  • Lowering the minimum age of broker licensees to 18,
  • Requiring more oversight of broker licensees by designated managing brokers,
  • Reducing pre-license education requirements for broker licensees to 75 hours and
  • Increasing post-license education requirements for broker licensees to 45 hours.

Episodes 2-6 cover the following subjects:

  • Paperless Practice & Technology
  • Licensing & Management
  • Teams & Advertising
  • Consumer Protection & Business Practice and
  • Miscellaneous

Please visit Illinois REALTORS® RELA Rewrite webpage for the most up-to-date information. Use the information provided there to stay informed about threats to your Illinois customers’ private property rights.

Full Transcript:

Betsy Urbance: Hi, I’m Betsy Urbance, Illinois REALTORS® Chief Legal Counsel, and I am sharing with you episode one of our RELA Web Series that has to do with the License Act changes and some proposed rules provisions. In this particular episode, I’m just going to give you an introduction and a history, if you will, as to how we got to where we are now, that is, with a new License Act in effect, and also with some proposed rules, that at the very earliest, will be final in June, 2020. But at this point we have enough direction that I think if you abide by the agreed regulations, you should be in pretty good shape within your practice.

Betsy Urbance: How did we get there? Well, August 9, 2019 was the date the amended Real Estate License Act became effective. All licensing laws in the State of Illinois sunset every 10 years. And our particular license law was no exception. So the RELA that we were operating under was set to sunset in 2019. As a result, the way that Illinois REALTORS®, typically every nine or 10 years, begins its internal process, is it puts together a task force. This particular time was no exception. So our task force was comprised into three subcategories.

Betsy Urbance: Those were business issues, regulation and education. The task force groups met, they vetted ideas, they proposed initiatives, and at the end of the day, all of those ideas and initiatives were presented to the Board of Directors for approval. Once approved, in the background what we were having, was an election for the governor of Illinois. So that puts your revised statute, or your rewrite as some call it, in a state of question. Would it be the same administration, and they would just extend the licensing law? Which was definitely not our hope in that there are lots of issues that, we, as an industry, hope to cover with regard to technology and advancements, education, oversight. So we were hoping for something new or revised.

Betsy Urbance: So, Illinois REALTORS® Legal Staff set about writing revised language for a proposed License Act initiative. So we put that together really not knowing where we would be come the election. Well, the election happened, and as everyone now knows, we had a new administration. So then the question is, what, if any, activity would there be? But we did have a License Act that was set to expire at the end of December or effectively the beginning of 2020. As a result, the bottom line was that Illinois REALTORS® got together with the new administration at IDFPR, or the Division of Real Estate, and through the work and the cooperation and many hours spent by many people, both here at Illinois REALTORS®, to represent the industry, and also across the way at the Division of Real Estate with some of the new folks that were involved there, and then at the General Assembly, to get this bill put together, vetted, revised and filed.

Betsy Urbance: It’s really nothing short of a tiny bit miraculous that we ended up with a rewrite, but not technically a rewrite because of the way that it happened. It was really an amendment to the existing law, although there are some very substantial provisions in it. So I just want to clear up a little misconception where everyone, not everyone, but many are under the impression, and they would have been right had we done a rewrite, that everything went into effect Jan. 1 2020. But as a matter of fact, everything went into effect on August 9, 2019. So that was the 60 days after the governor signed the bill. Or it was effective upon becoming law, and that was when the governor signed the bill, which was August 9, 2019. So we have had a revised real estate license law since that time.

Betsy Urbance: Also, there is more oversight required of the managing broker of an office who is now, and this is another global theme, known as the designated managing broker. So it’s that person, that human being, that is identified as the designated managing broker with the department or the Division of Real Estate, that person is in charge of the oversight.

Betsy Urbance: So there are also provisions with regard to new brokers. So if I’m a person getting my broker’s license for the first time, I am going to, my pre- and post-license education has been revised somewhat from a 90-hour pre-license requirement and a 30-hour post-license requirement to a 75-hour pre-license requirement. You take the test, you pass it, and then you do a 45-hour post-license. And the general thinking and consensus was that a new broker needs real life experience. So how does the new broker get that real life experience? Well, the idea is that the new broker would take this 45-hour post-licensing education, that’s broken down into 15-hour modules.

Betsy Urbance: So that’s pretty much an overview of the history and how we got where we are now from where we were then. The following episodes will cover items like paperless practice and technology, licensing and management, which I also lovingly refer to as education and oversight, teams and advertising, that’s a big one, consumer protection and business practice, and finally, our favorite, the miscellaneous or catchall provisions.

Betsy Urbance: Thank you for watching Illinois REALTORS® RELA Web Series. On our next episode, Anneliese Fierstos will join me as we talk about paperless practice and technology.