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Illinois Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Public Benefits and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Does the State of Illinois have to purchase my daughters entire property?

The State has offered to purchase a portion of the property. This would include a majority of the septic field. She has nowhere to replace it. They did not have any compensation for this item listed on their offer. Would that make her property inhabitable and what are her options? Do they have to... Read more »

James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg answered on Jul 27, 2021

Your daughter needs to make an appointment with an experienced real estate lawyer to discuss this. Make sure she brings to the appointment a copy of the offer the state made.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on
Q: If I buy land but don't want my husband to take it from me in divorce can I gift it to my children or otherwise save it?

I'm not even sure divorce is the answer for me but I don't want my kids and I to be left with nothing and I feel like he would do his best to leave us begging for air. If I bought land with my own savings could I gift it to my children so that he couldn't take it but the kids (and I)... Read more »

J. Richard Kulerski Esq.
J. Richard Kulerski Esq. answered on Mar 2, 2021

You mention using your own savings. If the savings came from money earned during the marriage, then it would not be your savings, it would be marital savings. If you bought land with it, the land would be a marital asset and therefore subject to division at the time of divorce.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Gov & Administrative Law, Land Use & Zoning and Municipal Law for Illinois on
Q: Want to put in a fence but restriction on plat are in the way. The city doesn't know who owns the plat restrictions.

We purchased a home in McHenry, IL and back up to a major roadway. We have dogs and kids and want to put in a 6' fence and not give up 30' of our yard. The restrictions are on the plat but nobody knows who owns them to have them removed. The restrictions are:

1. Fencing is... Read more »

Robert Shipley
Robert Shipley answered on Oct 22, 2020

Based upon your description, it appears the City is/would be cooperative with your ultimate goal. It is likely the restrictions were put in place by the developer, perhaps based upon zoning or right of way issues. I would think the City should be able to work with you to develop a solution. I... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Illinois on
Q: Built home last year and the builder has our home photos all over his builders realty website. Not in our contract.

The photos are of the interior and exterior (3D). We are not comfortable with this and have asked before for them to be removed. It is in fact worse now on multiple building plans and has been taken down. What legal recourse do we have?

George W. Svoboda
George W. Svoboda answered on Jul 23, 2020

You need to look at your contract in more detail. Is there an intellectual property section that addresses ownership of the plans and design? Also, if you closed on your property after construction was finished, the builder owned the property until closing. Up until that point, he had the right to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Land Use & Zoning and Municipal Law for Illinois on
Q: Does Illinois require gutters? I live in Chicago and my roof is a gable roof.

If my neighbor is complaining about installing gutters, do I have to install them? Am I legally obligated to install them?

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jun 16, 2020

An Illinois attorney could advise best, but your question remains open for two weeks. Until you are able to reach a local attorney, you could start some self-help research by looking into state building codes (and local ones as well, if they address the issue). If such regulations or codes exist,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: When buying property can you do anything if existing neighbors have built on or over your property line?

I'm in the process of buying a piece of land and when looking over the aerial map and going out to the location it looks as though the existing neighbors has put a shed on the line if not over the property line. As a new owner can I say something about it?

James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg answered on Nov 8, 2019

That depends on a number of factors which need to be explored in a conversation with a lawyer experienced in such problems. For example:

1. Has an easement allowing the shed to cross the line been recorded? If so, is the shed within the legal description provided in the easement?...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Hi I wanted to buy a vacant land on the corner of a residential block (residential lot). Can I rent it for parking space

I plan to build a business/home tax office in the later future. I wanted to know if that's legal to do before I commit to buying the land. I wanted to rent parking spaces just temp. to make money but that's only short term while I gather money to build home/business.

Ray Choudhry
Ray Choudhry answered on Apr 11, 2019

If you are in a city, the city's zoning laws control land use.

You need to go see the Zoning Office and find out what you can do with that lot.

Sometimes you can apply for variances but that is another matter.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Can I buy unused property behind my home?

Behind our home there is a section of land that while researching turns out to be owned by the Illinois Department of Transportation. I think it was acquired decades ago for a road that was never built. Now that the lots were divided up and built on just this strip of land remains. Our house it the... Read more »

Ray Choudhry
Ray Choudhry answered on Feb 3, 2019

Talk to an experienced real estate attorney.

You may have the right to go to court and have the land declared as belonging to your property.

If not, the State of Illinois will be happy to sell it to you.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on
Q: Do we have enough information and assurance to close tomorrow? Or should we push the close and request more info?

We were supposed to close on a home last week but night before close we are informed that the title company pulled the zoning certificate from the city and the home is zoned as a 3-unit building, not a single family home. The seller who purchased the home 10 years ago has a cert. that says... Read more »

Steve McCann
Steve McCann answered on Jan 31, 2019

It is not in your best interest to assume re-zoning will be "easy to do." In fact, they usually aren't very easy at all, and can end up costing a tremendous amount of money. That being the case, I certainly would not close until you have more details and costs surrounding the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Construction Law, Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: are electricity bill is $629.00 and our house is still freezing and the land Lord is a jerk no ceiling in the bathroom

and you can see light through the roof do we have any options my husband is on ssd

Steve McCann
Steve McCann answered on Jan 14, 2019

You are likely entitled to a remedy, but the best course of action is dependent on specific facts that are not provided here, such as the location of the apartment, and whether or not it is subject to the RLTO.

In any event, I recommend organizing everything in your possession relevant to...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Is there any way to appeal to local zoning laws to allow me to rent out my condo on AirBnb?
T. J. Jesky
T. J. Jesky answered on Nov 2, 2018

Before you appeal to the local zoning board, check with your Condo Associations. Many condo associations do not allow for short rentals. Many require at least 12 months, if you wish to rent the Condo. It might be more difficult to work with Condo Association rather the local authorities.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Municipal Law and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: What are my rights? A municipal is threatening to demolish my house.
James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg answered on Sep 8, 2018

There is no way to answer this question without knowing why the municipality is threatening to demolish your house, what their local ordinances provide and whether their local ordinances are appropriate under state law. The stakes are high, so you need to make an appointment with a local lawyer as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Landlord - Tenant and Criminal Law for Illinois on
Q: Tenant lives in guest attic (has water, electricity, working toilet/shower) 2 doors to attic, whatif he tries to breakin

Tenant is related to my fiance

Has his own exit door plus a door to our stairway to our house.

I have him locked out of our house but he is free to enter and exit his area only.

Can i report him if he tries to breakin while we are at work or asleep?

James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg answered on May 16, 2018

Yes, though you'll want to consider how it will affect your relationship with your fiance.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Im a tenant the property owner has city violations and is unresponsive to court orders to comply

the city may order to vacate what are my options? I need housing and they are trying to force my family out in 2 weeks

James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg answered on Feb 27, 2018

I don't mean this to sound harsh, but about all you can do is find a new place to live as quickly as possible.

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Illinois on
Q: If I pay the taxes on a property I don't own, can I take ownership on the land?

The owner hasnt paid the taxes in 3 years and my family and I have been renting it the whole time. All to find out that the taxes are pass due and if not paid the property go to auction. Just trying to find out if i paid the taxes what will need to happen so i can take ownership

Steve McCann
Steve McCann answered on Feb 19, 2018

You may be able to obtain ownership to the property through adverse possession, but an attorney must have more information prior to advising whether or not this is a possibility. This is a very fact specific determination, so I recommend organizing all information relevant to this situation,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on
Q: Can a village regulate building additions, etc., if it has not adopted a zoning or building code?
Steve McCann
Steve McCann answered on Feb 7, 2018

Yes, a village can certainly regulate building additions. I highly recommend consulting with an attorney, as well as the village prior to performing any work towards the addition.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: My neighbor of over 25 years has sent a letter from his lawyer claiming he owns 5 feet of my property

There is a fence and concrete patio and it was here before I moved here. Do they have the right to make us tear it all down?

Steve McCann
Steve McCann answered on Jan 26, 2018

It is possible that your neighbor has the right to obtain title to the 5 feet of your property through adverse possession, assuming all of the requirements for adverse possession in Illinois have been met. However, the requirements for adverse possession are a very technical, and fact specific... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Have retaining wall on property line, specifically was told not ours, now neibor says it is. Options? More to story.

We have owned the property for 1.5 yrs. Realtor said retaining wall not ours, but not in writing. No property lines are marked. Lady is threatening to sue. In our small town, lines are vague at best. We specifically asked about the wall when looking at the property, being we were not liable, we... Read more »

Steve McCann
Steve McCann answered on Sep 5, 2017

You can obtain a survey of the property, and consult with a real estate attorney to determine the best manner in which to move forward. A real estate attorney can also search public records and attempt to work a deal out with the neighbor, depending on the results of the survey/record search.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on
Q: We own a house and the water company digged up our driveway without warning, we can't even park in it. what can we do?

Our house is older on a main street in town. The person called and asked if they can come in and track a water line we said sure they drilled small hole and filled, but today they came out after me and wife left for work no warning and completely tore up 3/4 of our driveway as well as messed up... Read more »

Ray Choudhry
Ray Choudhry answered on Aug 16, 2017

Usually the cities provide the water.

Is it a private water company.

There are rules as to what can be done if the water lines have a problem.

If it is the city, check with them as to what they plan to do.

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on
Q: Previous homeowner put driveway over the property line. Does new homeowner have any remedies to keep?

The previous homeowner put a blacktop driveway approximately 14 feet over the property line. The driveway was put in at least 25 years ago. The adjacent property is owned by Madison County. They are now going to remove the blacktop driveway only because it is over the line. Do I have any... Read more »

Ray Choudhry
Ray Choudhry answered on Jul 21, 2017

Why not offer to buy it from Madison County.

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