Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB4374
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Full Text of HB4374  102nd General Assembly

HB4374 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  

 


 
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
HB4374

 

Introduced 1/21/2022, by Rep. Daniel Didech - Carol Ammons

 

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
 
New Act

    Creates the Vacancy Fraud Act. Allows a taxing body or representative of a taxing body to file a vacancy fraud complaint with the county board of review if property is receiving vacancy relief and the property owner is not actively attempting to lease, sell, or alter the property. Sets forth factors in determining whether or not vacancy fraud has occurred. Sets forth penalties. Effective immediately.


LRB102 22958 HLH 32112 b

 

 

A BILL FOR

 

HB4374LRB102 22958 HLH 32112 b

1    AN ACT concerning property.
 
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
 
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Vacancy Fraud Act.
 
6    Section 5. Public policy. In recognition of the severe
7economic circumstances of taxpayers and taxing districts
8across the State of Illinois, the General Assembly finds that
9abuse exists with respect to the use of property tax relief
10enacted by several counties which lowers the assessment of
11vacant property. Some owners of vacant properties do not
12actively seek tenants, yet continue to receive property tax
13relief for the term of the property's vacancy. This practice
14has led to neighborhoods blighted with vacant commercial or
15industrial properties. The General Assembly finds that this
16practice is against public policy, burdens homeowners and
17actively operating businesses, and lessens taxing districts'
18tax base.
 
19    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
20    "Vacancy relief" means a decrease in assessed value, a
21decrease in market value, or an abatement of taxes by a chief
22county assessment officer, a board of review, or a taxing

 

 

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1district under any county or taxing district ordinance,
2resolution, or policy granting such a decrease in assessed
3value to property that is vacant.
4    "Vacant property" means property that is receiving vacancy
5relief. A property that receives vacancy relief on only a
6portion of the property is still considered vacant property.
 
7    Section 15. Vacancy fraud complaints.
8    (a) The board of review of the county in which the property
9is located shall have the power to review complaints of
10vacancy fraud for vacant properties that have received vacancy
11relief for 2 consecutive tax years if the first of those tax
12years is no more than 5 years prior to the current tax year.
13    (b) Any taxing body or representative of any taxing body
14alleging that a property owner is not actively attempting to
15lease, sell, or alter the vacant property shall file a written
16complaint prescribed by the board of review within the
17appropriate filing period.
18    (c) The party alleging vacancy fraud shall file on the
19titleholder of record a Notice of Intent to File a Vacancy
20Fraud Complaint. The notice shall disclose the common name and
21address of the property as well as its property classification
22code and permanent index number and shall provide a short
23written statement of the nature of the evidence which will be
24submitted in support of the allegation of vacancy fraud.
25Notice shall be provided by first class mail, postage prepaid,

 

 

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1and shall be mailed to the same address that the vacant
2property's property tax bill is mailed.
3    (d) If a complaint is filed by an attorney on behalf of a
4taxpayer, all notices and correspondence from the board shall
5be directed to the attorney. The board may require proof of the
6attorney's authority to represent the taxpayer. If the
7attorney fails to provide proof of authority within the
8compliance period granted by the board pursuant to subsection
9(e), the board may dismiss the complaint. The Board shall
10send, electronically or by mail, notice of the dismissal to
11the attorney and taxpayer.
12    (e) Upon receipt of a written complaint that is timely
13filed, the board of review shall docket the complaint. If the
14complaint does not comply with the board of review rules
15entitling the complainant to a hearing, the board shall send,
16electronically or by mail, notification acknowledging receipt
17of the complaint. The notification must identify which rules
18have not been complied with and provide the complainant with
19not less than 10 business days to bring the complaint into
20compliance with those rules. If the complainant complies with
21the board of review rules, either upon the initial filing of a
22complaint or within the time as extended by the board of review
23for compliance, then the board of review shall send,
24electronically or by mail, a notice of hearing and the board
25shall hear the complaint and shall issue and send,
26electronically or by mail, a decision upon resolution. Except

 

 

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1as otherwise provided, if the complainant has not complied
2with the rules within the time as extended by the board of
3review, the board shall nonetheless issue and send a decision.
4The board of review may adopt rules allowing any party to
5attend and participate in a hearing by telephone or
6electronically. The party alleging vacancy fraud shall cause a
7duplicate notice of the hearing date to be provided to the
8titleholder of record.
 
9    Section 20. Factors in determining vacancy fraud.
10    (a) In determining whether the owner of vacant property is
11actively attempting to sell, lease, or alter the vacant
12property, the board may consider the following factors:
13        (1) whether there is a sign on the vacant property
14    advertising that it is for sale or for lease;
15        (2) whether the vacant property is advertised for sale
16    or for lease in a newspaper of general circulation where
17    the vacant property is located;
18        (3) whether the vacant property is advertised for sale
19    or for lease on the internet, and whether potential buyers
20    or tenants are reasonably able to access the internet
21    listing;
22        (4) whether the owner of the vacant property has
23    contracted for the services of an Illinois licensed real
24    estate professional for the purpose of selling or leasing
25    the vacant property;

 

 

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1        (5) whether any advertised sale price or advertised
2    rental price is at a reasonable market level;
3        (6) whether a contract for sale or lease is pending;
4        (7) whether the vacant property is subsequently sold
5    or leased, and the amount of time that passed from the
6    original vacancy to the sale or lease date;
7        (8) whether the owner has applied for and received
8    demolition or construction permits for the vacant
9    property;
10        (9) whether the owner has responded to inquiries to
11    lease or sell the property; and
12        (10) any other factors the board deems necessary to
13    determine if the owner of any vacant property is actively
14    attempting to lease, sell, or alter the vacant property.
15    (b) For purposes of paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of
16subsection (a), any signs, newspaper advertisements, or
17internet advertisements shall contain a phone number. If the
18phone number does not connect to a person who can facilitate
19the purchase or lease of the vacant property, the board of
20review may disregard that the sign, newspaper advertisement,
21or internet advertisement.
 
22    Section 25. Penalties.
23    (a) Before assessing any penalties, the board of review
24shall give notice to the assessor or chief county assessment
25officer who certified the vacancy relief and give the assessor

 

 

HB4374- 6 -LRB102 22958 HLH 32112 b

1or chief county assessment officer an opportunity to be heard
2thereon.
3    (b) Upon determination that an owner of vacant property is
4not actively attempting to sell, lease, or alter the vacant
5property, the board of review and chief county assessment
6officer may do any of the following:
7        (1) prohibit the vacant property from receiving any
8    vacancy relief until it is subsequently sold or leased;
9        (2) require the payment of 3 times the amount of back
10    taxes owed for any vacancy relief the vacant property
11    received while the owner of the vacant property was not
12    actively attempting to sell, lease, or alter the vacant
13    property;
14        (3) require the payment of interest on any back taxes
15    sought under paragraph (2); any interest imposed shall not
16    exceed 10% per annum; and
17        (4) in the case of a property owner who has been
18    penalized under this Section 2 times or more within a
19    5-year period, impose a penalty not to exceed 25% of the
20    amount of back taxes sought under paragraph (2).
21    (c) The unpaid taxes shall be paid to the appropriate
22taxing districts. Interest and penalties shall be paid to the
23chief county assessment officer's office to cover the costs
24associated with educating the public on the provisions of this
25Act.
26    (d) No penalties shall be assessed until the person to be

 

 

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1affected has been notified and given an opportunity to be
2heard.
 
3    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
4becoming law.