Advocacy success story: municipal inspections
A focus of recent local advocacy efforts has been to reform municipal property inspection programs. Several Illinois municipalities have “point-of-sale” home inspection requirements and rental property requirements. Illinois REALTORS® has worked with municipal officials to make sure these programs do not unduly interfere with transactions and allow due process for property owners.
A recent example of success was in the village of Round Lake Beach. In March, the village approved a series of changes to long-standing property regulations that will positively impact home buyers, home sellers, housing providers and REALTORS® in the community. This action comes after months of discussions between REALTORS®, Local GAD Joe Roth and village staff/officials. The changes impact presale occupancy inspections and rental inspections as well as the foreclosed and vacant property registry.
Presale occupancy inspections
For years, the village has required occupancy permit inspections prior to closings. Now, buyers can hire licensed home inspectors to satisfy the inspection requirement and provide proof it was completed. The village will continue to inspect water meters prior to closing. Once issued, the occupancy permits will be valid for 45 days to accommodate closing times.
This approach — allowing a private home inspection to satisfy the municipal requirement — is novel and we hope it may be emulated in other municipalities.
The village currently requires rental properties to be inspected and registered annually. With the changes enacted, inspections will now occur when tenants change or every four years, whichever is sooner. The change dramatically reduces the burden on village staff, property owners and tenants.
Registration of foreclosed and vacant properties
Several years ago, the village began a registration program for owners of all vacant properties and those facing foreclosure. With the recent changes, Round Lake Beach will now exempt registration and inspection requirements for occupied properties subject to foreclosure.