Representation for Condominium Boards and Managers

Are you experiencing problems with ever increasing condo or townhome assessments? Seeing “special assessments” or sudden additional line items on your assessment? Does your board never have a detailed response for these increases? Does your board operate without the required open-meeting votes? Does the board fail to call meetings to discuss the status of the association? For these and other issues get the answers you are seeking by contacting our staff of experienced attorneys. Call us at 708-974-0000 for answers. Or email us at

Paying Too Much in Real Estate Taxes?

Do you or someone you know own a commercial or industrial property? Tired of the constant inflated property tax bill or a bill that never stops going up? Contact us to see if a tax appeal might successfully lower your tax and counteract future increases. You have rights. Find out what they are before you overspend on your property tax bill and waste your hard earned dollars.  For these and other issues get the answers you are seeking by contacting our staff of experienced attorneys. Call us at 708-974-0000 for answers. Or email us at

Property Tax Appeals in Illinois – Cook County, DuPage County, Will County

Has your home gone down in value? Are you “under water” in comparison with your mortgage? Is your tax bill just as high, or higher than it was before the market crashed? With property taxes still considerably higher than real world home values it’s time for a tax appeal. Get the professional help you need in order to lower that exorbitant tax bill. Lower your bills and keep that money in your pocket. Tax appeals for Cook County, DuPage County and Will County. Our fee is only paid once we lower your tax bill.  For information contact us at or call at (708) 974-0000 for a free consultation. Convenient office locations all over the Chicagoland area.

Real Estate Transaction Basics – Foreign Corporations

A foreign corporation is a corporate entity formed in a state different than Illinois. Such corporations, if they transact business in Illinois, must be registered to do business in Illinois. Now there is a somewhat convoluted test to determine what “doing business” in fact consists of, but for purposes of a real estate transaction this test is more likely than not necessary. The reality of this scenario can be much simpler. For purposes of the real estate transaction the best course of action is to secure a certificate of good standing from the state of incorporation of the business entity purchasing/selling the real estate. An additional, but not necessarily a required, step is to then secure verification that the foreign corporation has filed to transact business with the Secretary of State here in Illinois. A resolution is to be executed by the board of directors authorizing the transaction and authorizing a party to sign the documents. Basically following the process necessary for a domestic Illinois corporation

Make Sure You Got All Your Money Before You Give a Release in a Mechanic’s Lien Scenario

In a recent case the court held that once a release is recorded on title to a property removing the mechanic’s lien previously filed by the unpaid contractor, there is no recourse and any claims based on the lien are waived forever. So even if the release is executed and recorded based on a settlement agreement where the property owner fails to comply with the terms of the settlement, once the release was recorded the lien claim was waived. Other recourse, like a breach of contract claim, remained, but the contractor was barred from return to any action under the Mechanic’s Lien Act. Oxford 127 Huron Hotel Venture, LLC v. CMC Organization, 2014 IL App (1st) 130265.

Case Law Update – Mechanic’s Liens

The validity of mechanic’s liens filed and the subject of timely foreclosure actions are subject to the veracity and accuracy of the information represented in the mechanic’s lien documents that form the basis of the action. Honest mistakes in information in the lien do not invalidate the document. The statute will invalidate a lien wherein the lienholder seeks to assert a claim based on fraud. Where the mechanic’s lien claimants were mistaken in the timeframe for completion of work that formed the basis of the lien by a week nor could another claimant confirm the date of completion of work, the appellate court found that such could be deemed an honest mistake instead of an attempt to defraud the parties. North Shore Community Bank v. Sheffield Wellington, LLC, 2014 IL App (1st) 123784.

Illinois Real Property Disclosure Report – Mandatory or Else!!!!

Realtors, ever “forgotten” to get a disclosure signed by your client? Ever forget to make sure the other realtor gets their client to sign? Beware it can come back and bite you! And cost everyone in the end!!!!

The right to completed Real Property Disclosure Report attendant to a real estate transaction is absolute. Until such is provided to a prospective buyer in a real estate transaction in Illinois the seller has failed to comply with the statute’s obligations for disclosure (leading to buyer’s right to terminate the contract). Furthermore, the report must be fully completed. A seller cannot cherry-pick questions to answer in order to avoid the obligation for disclosure. Messerly v. Boehmke, 2014 IL App (4th) 130937.

Case Law – Mechanic’s Lien Act

The Mechanic’s Lien Act creates certain protections for contractors who complete work on real property and then face the prospect of not getting paid by unscrupulous owners of the real estate. To take advantage of the benefits under the Act, the contractor needs to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the Act. One of these conditions requires that, upon demand, the contractor provide the property owner with a written “Sworn Statement” as to the parties furnishing labor, services and materials provided by both the contractor and sub-contractors hired by the contractor. In Cityline Construction Fire and Water Restoration, Inc., 2014 IL App (1st) 130730, the contractor filed suit against the property owner. The trial court found for the defendant property owner on motion for summary judgment due to the contractor’s failure to provide a sworn statement upon demand from the property owner. The contractor appealed the decision. The appellate court affirmed.

Real Estate Purchase Practice Tip

Buyers be aware that real estate closings now occurring are within 60 days of the due date for property taxes in all counties around the metropolitan Chicago area. If you are purchasing and taking out a mortgage, most lenders are requiring title companies to hold what is called a tax indemnity. The title company holds the funds and pays the tax bill prior to the due date.  Most title companies require that the tax indemnity amount held at closing represent 150% or 200% of the expected tax bill. Once the tax bill is paid any overage is returned by the title company to the buyer within 60 days of the payment being made to the treasurers office. For closing purposes this amount needs to be taken into account when a buyer is budgeting for closing costs that are to be expected at the table. Many times loan officers realtors or even attorneys forget to include this increased cost basis in estimates for amounts that a buyer needs to bring them to closing.

#taxindemnity #closingcosts #titlecompany

Mechanic’s Liens – A Short Primer (part 2)

A mechanic’s lien filed on the title to real property that was the subject of the contractor’s work requires that (1) it incorporates a brief statement of the underlying contract that is the basis of the lien, (2) establishes the balance due after credits for payments made during the course of the contract and (3) a description of the real property itself. 770 ILCS 60/7. A critical aspect of a good mechanic’s lien (and its subsequent use in the litigation that follows) is making sure that the first prong is met and the brief statement of the contract at issue is made within the body of the mechanic’s lien that is recorded. It may sound silly, but you must make sure that the correct party’s names on the face of the lien. Get the correct dates on the lien (although an error here is not necessarily fatal for a claim). If you have a written contract state this. If you had an oral contract state that on the face of the lien – do not write it up as a written contract (when the judge asks you to produce it and you cannot then you LOSE). Write up a good synopsis of the work that was performed, materials that were furnished and describe any extras – no one will hold it against you if you put a few short paragraphs together just the recorder may charge a couple dollars more for the recording fee). As to extras it is often good practice to file a separate lien for additional work that the parties agreed to be performed after the commencement of work on the original contract, especially if these extras are of a different nature than the original work (the extras are to install windows and you were originally hired to replace the siding). Word to the wise if the contractor and the real property owner agree to additional terms for more work after the commencement of the original contract get it down on paper. Saves a lot of grief and money later. Call your attorney to prepare an amendment or a new contract. Takes a couple of minutes for a good practitioner to put together.