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Waukegan commercial real estate attorneyThe COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the U.S. economy. In addition to affecting the real estate market, it has led to job losses and reduced income for many people. This has caused some residential tenants to be unable to pay rent, which has also led to difficulties for many landlords, since they may not be able to make mortgage payments or cover other expenses. While lease modifications may help landlords and tenants address these issues, they may also be able to receive government aid to assist in paying the rent that is owed.

Emergency Assistance for Tenants and Landlords

The federal government and multiple states have placed a moratorium on evictions for residential tenants, and this moratorium has been repeatedly extended as the coronavirus pandemic has continued to affect people and families. While landlords are currently unable to evict tenants, any unpaid rent will continue to be owed. To address this issue, a recent economic stimulus bill passed by the federal government created the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, setting aside $25 billion to be used to help tenants pay past-due rent and address ongoing difficulties in making rent payments.

A tenant will qualify for assistance if at least one person in the household has experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19, including losing their job, experiencing a reduction in income, or incurring significant costs related to medical treatment. A tenant will need to demonstrate that inability to pay rent has put them at risk of homelessness or housing instability. The household income must also be 80 percent or less of the median income in the tenant’s area. Household income may be determined by looking at the total income earned in the year 2020 or the monthly income at the time of filing an application for rental assistance.

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Libertyville IL home purchase agreement attorneyA residential real estate transaction usually begins when a prospective buyer places an offer on a home and the seller accepts their offer. Once a purchase price is agreed upon, the parties will sign a purchase contract, and they will then work to complete all requirements that must be met before the closing date on which the transaction will be completed. Those who are buying or selling a home will want to understand the terms that will be included in their purchase contract, and by working with an experienced real estate attorney, they can make sure their rights will be protected throughout their transaction.

Terms of a Real Estate Purchase Agreement

A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller. It will include identifying information about the parties, a description of the property being purchased, and the planned closing date, as well as any details about when the buyer will take possession of the property. The parties may also negotiate other terms that should be included in the contract, such as:

  • What is included - In addition to the home itself, the contract should specify any other items that will be included in the sale. These may include appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, washer, or dryer, as well as decorations or other fixtures.

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Lake Forest IL foreclosure defense attorneyAfter nearly a year, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to affect people across the United States. Even though vaccines are currently being administered, they are being rolled out slowly, and it will most likely be several more months before enough people can be vaccinated to allow a return to the activities that people enjoyed before the pandemic. Unfortunately, this means that those who have been struggling financially may continue to face difficulty and uncertainty for the time being. However, federal and state government organizations have offered a variety of different forms of relief, and programs may be available to help homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19 avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosure Moratorium Extended

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which went into effect in March of 2020, placed a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for single-family homes with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). While this moratorium was initially intended to last through July 24, 2020, it has been extended several times as the pandemic has continued to affect people and families. Most recently, the FHA announced that the moratorium will extend through February 28, 2021. The moratorium applies to new foreclosure proceedings and any foreclosures which are already in process.

Options for Mortgage Forbearance and Bankruptcy

In addition to the moratorium on foreclosures, the FHA is allowing homeowners to request a forbearance from mortgage lenders. A forbearance will allow a homeowner to defer or reduce mortgage payments for up to six months, and it may be extended for an additional six months if needed. The Consolidated Appropriation Act (CAA), which was passed by the U.S. Congress on December 27, 2020, prohibited lenders from denying forbearances or foreclosure relief to lenders who had previously filed for bankruptcy or who are involved in bankruptcy proceedings.

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Libertyville IL real estate property easement attorneyThere are a wide variety of issues that can play a role in a real estate transaction. One factor that both buyers and sellers should be aware of is whether there are any easements that apply to a property. Since easements are considered encumbrances that affect an owner’s ability to use their property, they should be addressed during the home closing process, and the parties should be sure to understand their rights and whether any changes to these agreements will be necessary.

Types of Easements on Illinois Real Estate Property

An easement is an agreement that provides someone other than a property’s owner with the right to use a portion of the property. Easements may be affirmative, meaning that they grant a party the right to use a specific part of a property for specific purposes, or they may be negative, meaning that they prohibit a property from being used in certain ways. Affirmative easements may include agreements that allow neighbors to use shared driveways or the rights of utility companies to place or maintain items such as power lines, gas lines, or water mains. Negative easements may restrict a property owner from erecting structures on a part of a property that is environmentally protected or from making additions to a home that would block a neighbor’s view.

Express easements are agreements that are set down in writing, such as in the deed to a property, a court order, or a legal agreement signed by a property owner and other parties. Easements may also be created by implication or by necessity, such as when a property owner cannot access their property without using a road or driveway on a neighbor’s property.

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Libertyville IL foreclosure defense lawyerOver the past decade, the threat of foreclosure has been ever-present for many homeowners. Those who are struggling financially may be concerned that missed or late mortgage payments will result in the loss of their home. However, many homeowners who have refinanced their homes or obtained additional mortgages may be unsure about how these loans will affect their financial situation, including whether mortgage lenders may foreclose if a person is in default on a second mortgage. By working with a bankruptcy attorney to understand these issues, homeowners can determine their best options for defending against foreclosure and managing their debts.

Defaulting on a Second Mortgage

A mortgage is a secured debt, and this means that if a homeowner defaults on the debt, the lender can foreclose and repossess the house. This is true not only for the initial mortgage on a home, but also for any subsequent mortgages or home equity loans. However, during foreclosure, the first mortgage will take priority, and lenders of second or subsequent mortgages will only receive payments if the amount obtained through a foreclosure sale exceeds the amount owed on the first mortgage.

If a home is “underwater,” meaning that its current value is less than the amount owed on the initial mortgage and any subsequent mortgages, lenders may not want to foreclose on a second mortgage, since they will likely not receive full payment of the amount owed. However, these lenders may pursue other options for repayment, such as filing a lawsuit against the homeowner to collect the amount owed. In many cases, homeowners may be able to negotiate with these lenders to determine how they can become current on a loan, since other options may not be financially beneficial for the lender.

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