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Illinois Land Use & Zoning Questions & Answers

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 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 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 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 re-zoning. I... 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 answered on Jul 21, 2017

Why not offer to buy it from Madison County.

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on

Q: What does this mean?

No building or any other objects may be erected

closer to the front line of the lot than the back building line of the principal dwelling on any lot.

Does this mean if we wanted to build an outbuilding, the front of it could be no further forward than the back of our house?

Vincent Gallo answered on Apr 30, 2017

This is referred to as a setback line restriction. It involves zoning restrictions that are intended to maintain uniformity in neighborhoods.

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1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on

Q: What lien to file

My neighbor built an improvement of their home on my property.

Steve McCann answered on Apr 3, 2017

There are a few different ways you can go about it, but it is impossible to provide a comprehensive answer to your question based on the limited facts provided. What is the improvement, and have you obtained a recent survey to know for certain it is on your property? In any event, I would... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Land Use & Zoning and Landlord - Tenant for Illinois on

Q: What is the definition of "family" for housing purposes?

If housing "Rules and Regulations" indicate a unit can only be occupied by a "family", what constitutes a "family"? Is a couple that co-habitates, in an established long term serious relationship, considered a "family"? Is a couple that is engaged considered a "family". (There is no definition... Read more »

Vincent Anthony Incopero answered on Jan 30, 2017

If the term is not defined within the declaration or the bylaws that govern the association/unit, then the meaning of the term is open to interpretation. With that being said, I think both of the examples you provided were consistent with the intended meaning of the term "Family", especially in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on

Q: I own two side-by-side buildings (one a business and the other my home residence).

The block I live on was recently rezoned as strictly residential. I'd had plans to convert my home into a second business (I'll be buying another house nearby to live in) but now I'm being told I can't do this because it'd be a nonconforming use prohibited by the new zoning law. Is there any way to... Read more »

Steve McCann answered on Nov 16, 2016

Yes, there are several ways to fight it depending on the location. You can often challenge zoning by initiating a hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals in the city in which the property is located. It can be highly technical, and there are several arguments that can be made, so I would... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning for Illinois on

Q: My company rents space in a larger building and we were just notified that our current use of the space is out of

compliance with zoning laws. Isn't that our landlord's responsibility?

Steve McCann answered on Oct 27, 2016

The answer to your question depends on specific facts that are not provided here, such as the nature of the noncompliance and the specific terms in your lease. I would recommend organizing the lease and all other information that is relevant to this situation, and consulting with an attorney... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Illinois on

Q: What if my neighbor is setting off bombs on his property that are damaging my windows

Steve McCann answered on Oct 26, 2016

If your neighbors are setting off bombs and your safety is at issue, contact local law enforcement immediately. You can also file a complaint with local municipalities, and consider filing a lawsuit against them for nuisance and/or damage to your property.

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