More About that Chicago Vacant Buildings Ordinance


In August I wrote about an amendment to a Chicago vacant buildings ordinance that I thought (and I was one of many) was crazy, despite being sympathetic to the plight resulting from the city’s blight. The City of Chicago subsequently passed a less onerous, yet still problematic, vacant buildings ordinance effective as of November 19, 2011.

In a nutshell, the ordinance requires mortgagees to pay registration fees for vacant residential properties, requires monthly inspections of mortgaged properties to determine vacancy status and imposes maintenance requirements on mortgagees, as if such mortgagees were property owners, even when such mortgagees do not own the property because they have not yet foreclosed on the related mortgage loan and therefore have not obtained title to the related property. Fines and penalties of up to $1000 per day could be imposed for failure to comply with the ordinance.

On December 12, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), on its own behalf and as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs), filed a complaint against the City of Chicago seeking a declaratory judgment and to enjoin enforcement of the ordinance against the GSEs and the FHFA, as conservator.

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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.

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