Cook County Property Tax-Relief Program for Senior Citizens Seniors whose annual household income is $55,000 or less can apply to the Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral Program for loans to cover property tax payments. The State of Illinois issues the loans, which do not have to be repaid until the property is sold or the homeowner dies. An interest rate of 6 percent per year is charged by the state. The maximum loan is $5,000 per year. To qualify, homeowners must be at least 65 years old by June 1 of the year in which the application is made.

To apply:

  • Download the application from
  • Submit the completed application and copies of the required documents to the Treasurer’s Office
  • The deadline is March 1, 2019. Applications after that date cannot be accepted
  • Homeowners must reapply every year

Post Sposored by Relias Law Group, Ltd.
150 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 428-3016 Office

With the Super Bowl behind us, many now are focusing on 2019 in earnest. So too with real estate tax assessments. February will usher in the beginning of a new assessment era as the old guard, Joseph Berrios, was ousted from the assessing office last year.

Fritz Kaegi, the newly elected assessor, will begin issuing 2019 assessments for Rogers Park (2/15/19), Riverside (2/5/19), River Forest (2/6/19) and Norwood Park (2/22/19) townships later this month. Filing deadlines are about 30 days from the date appeals open.

Generally, only townships that are being re-assessed as part of the Triennial Reassessment will receive increases and thus merit assessment review and possible appeal action. However, this year may be different. Assessors can reassess properties at any time. In fact, Mr. Kaegi has shown admiration for jurisdictions who assess on an annual basis like New York. Consequently, properties that historically would not be reassessed could be reassessed in 2019.

Furthermore, with the new assessor in office, a new approach to valuation may open the door for additional assessment relief. Given the strength of the current real estate market, new evidence may be available to support appeals that were not available in 2017 or 2018. In short, property owners and condo associations should consider assessment appeals in 2019 even if the property is not reassessed this year.

Please contact George Relias at (312) 428-3021 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your potential tax reduction.

Chicago’s recent record-breaking cold temperatures presented associations with unique challenges and questions. Specifically, are associations liable for slip-and-fall cases that arise from accumulation of snow and ice?

The Illinois legislature passed the Snow and Ice Removal Act in 1979 to incentivize homeowners to remove ice and snow by providing associations with immunity from liability resulting from their efforts to remove snow or ice. However, recent case law has limited the scope and extent of the immunity. Therefore, it is important that associations understand the situations where the act does not provide immunity. They include:

  1. Slip-and-fall cases that were caused by defective conditions of the property, such as building defects.
  2. Slip-and-fall cases that were caused by negligent maintenance of the premises. The act does not provide immunity from omissions in the care of the premises.
  3. Associations will not be protected from liability for shoveling areas that are not municipal sidewalks that borders their property. In these cases, associations may be exposed to claims that the association’s efforts in removing the snow or ice were negligently performed.

The best course of action that associations can take is to be proactive regarding the condition of the property, as well with the maintenance of the premises.

To learn more, click here.

The issue of smoking in condominium buildings seems to have heated up lately. This may be a result of the legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Illinois or the increasing acceptance of marijuana use in general. Whatever the reason, the issue of smoke nuisances (of any kind) in condominium buildings continues to plague buildings large and small.

Condominium boards struggle with resolving smoke problems between units. It can be difficult to determine the source of the problem without clear documentation. And while the board can regulate how owners behave in common elements, they do not have complete authority to restrict how owners behave within units. This is a bit of a gray area, however, as smoke that originates within a unit very easily travels to common areas and other units, thus affecting neighbors and creating a nuisance that can arguably be forbidden by the association's governing documents.

The board has two options for remedying complaints about smoke. It can put forth an amendment to the Declaration to prohibit smoking in the building, or it can use Rules and Regulations to fine owners whose smoking affects the common elements.

In the case of an amendment, an affirmative vote of 2/3 vote of the owners would be required to prohibit smoking. Your condominium documents may required a higher percentage but the requirement cannot exceed 75% per the IL Condo Act.

If the board chooses to address the problem through Rules and Regulations and apply fines, they must follow the proper procedures for adopting and enforcing those Rules and Regulations.

Absent action by the board, owners have the right to seek legal counsel and attempt to resolve the issue via the courts.

For more information on addressing smoke in your building, click here.

For more information about the legal aspects of prohibiting smoking in Illinois, click here.


In our work with self-managing condominium associations, we've noticed that clients often have vendors providing services with no clear written agreement in place detailing expectations and compensation.

Haus Financial Services recommends that all vendors, no matter how "small" the service may seem, be provided with a written contract. A written contract is vital for the following reasons:

  • It documents the expectations of the vendor and allows the board to accurately review the work that is being done. If you aren't sure what is covered by the fees, how can you know that you are getting what you are paying for?
  • It creates a history of the regular maintenance required by the building for reference by future board members. This makes it easier for a new board to review regular maintenance needs and ensure they are being met.  
  • It eliminates questions about fee increases. If a vendor is suddenly charging a different amount from what is expected, the board can refer to the existing contract to determine if the increase is valid and if a new contract should be created to document a new fee agreement.

A vendor agreement or service contract does not need to be overly complicated to be useful. The key items to include are:

  • Begin and end date of the agreement
  • Detail of services to be performed
  • Amount of compensation
  • Frequency of compensation
  • Any items not included that can be expected to be invoiced separately

The board should draft a written agreement and have it signed by both parties, then retain it with the association's records.

Search Articles...

Membership Plans

Subscribe to the Chicago Condo Resource to access our Members Only Content.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Seminars & Events

Sun Nov 17 @ 3:00PM - 05:00PM
Chicago Children's Business Fair
November 2019
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30