Federal District Court Holds Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Exempt From Chicago’s Property Maintenance Ordinance


On August 23, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are exempt from a 2011 ordinance that established new requirements for mortgagees and their agents regarding the maintenance of vacant property. FHFA v. City of Chicago, No. 11-8795, 2013 WL 4505413 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 23, 2013). The FHFA, as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sued the city over the ordinance, which requires mortgagees to register vacant properties and pay a $500 registration fee per property. The ordinance also imposes maintenance and other obligations on mortgagees and their agents (including servicers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), regardless of whether the properties are foreclosed upon, and mandates fines for non-compliance. The court granted summary judgment for the FHFA, holding that the statute that created the FHFA—the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA)—preempts the local ordinance. The court reasoned that although HERA does not expressly preempt local laws, Congress intended for the FHFA to be the only entity responsible for operating Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s business and could not have intended to allow thousands of municipalities to impose varying obligations on the FHFA. On those grounds, the court granted the FHFA’s motion for summary judgment. The court also held in the alternative “for purposes of completeness” that the registration fees imposed on Fannie and Freddie by the ordinance would constitute an impermissible tax on the FHFA in violation of the federal government’s immunity from taxation.

Written by:

Published In:


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© BuckleySandler LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.