What goes on in the courtroom -- at all levels -- is of course of interest to us. An opinion or decision made today might impact a client next week, next month or next year. So we keep tabs on cases that relate to the types of law we practice, and periodically share information we think you, a family member, friend, or colleague might place in the "good to know" category.
A few recent opinions on cases were disclosed last month we think are worth sharing with you. Although they are not "official" -- this means that the courts can't quote them -- they will be followed until such time as they are struck down or overruled by newer laws. Read on for details.
Can Your Mortgage Company Legally Make
Claims On Your Property?
In First Mortgage Company, LLC v. Dina , (IL App. 2 Dist.) the Illinois Appellate Court has held, in an apparent matter of first impression, that a mortgage made by an entity that lacked authorization under the License Act to conduct the business of residential mortgage lending is void as against public policy.
What does this mean in non-legalese? It means that a mortgage company has to be licensed by the state of Illinois
in order to be able to make any claim on your property, especially to foreclose on your house.
This does not affect most major banks that we know of, but it does affect electronic registration systems such as Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS). If you want to know if this opinion might possibly affect you, I encourage you to go to your local county Recorder of Deeds, look up your property address and see if your mortgage is held by a non-bank. (On the Resources page of our website, you'll find links to the Recorder of Deeds for Cook, Will, and DuPage Counties.)
To learn more about this opinion, simply search using your internet browser for "First Mortgage Company, LLC v. Dina".
Another interesting case was Palm v. 2800 Lake Shore Dr. Condominium Association. In a Rule 23 order, the Court gave guidance on what can and what cannot be done outside of a properly-called Association board meeting.
The Court's conclusion? Not very much! A Rule 23 Order is a Supreme Court statement saying that the order is not (yet) binding on other courts, and may not be cited as precedent except in limited circumstances. The gist of the order states that any discussion of Association business outside a properly-called board meeting -- even if there has been no decision made regarding that business -- is conducting board business under the condominium act.
- Sending an email discussing any Association item with any other board member is now illegal
- Asking how other board members are going to vote on certain issues outside of the open meeting is now illegal
- Even a closed or informal working session of the board with a quorum of the board present, without proper notice to unit owners, is now illegal
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the Palm order is restricting a board's ability to delegate its responsibilities to subcommittees, property managers, and the like for specific matters like signing contracts waiving rights of first refusal, and collecting delinquent assessments. (The list goes on but you get the idea.)
The court ruled that this delegation of authority is only valid if the condominium declaration specifically states that they may do so. Many condo declarations do not! For more information about this opinion, click here. And if you or someone you know is part of a condominium board and has questions about these new laws, let me know.
As always, I hope you find our e-newsletters helpful. Feel free to call or email me if you need assistance with legal matters, or if you have topics you'd like to see covered in upcoming newsletters.