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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Court Upholds Rental Housing Support Fee Imposed by Recorders' Office

The Illinois Supreme Court recently overturned a trial court ruling that the $10 Rental Housing Support Program fee collected by the county at the time a document is recorded was unconstitutional. Marks v. Vanderventer, 2015 IL 116226.

State statute authorizes counties to collect a $10 fee at the time any real-estate related document is recorded with the county recorder of deeds.  $1 of the fee is retained by the county, and $9 funds the state rental housing support program.  The Marks sued the Lake County recorder of deeds arguing that the $10 surcharge was unconstitutional on various grounds, including equal protection, due process, and the uniformity clause. The trial court certified a a class action of plaintiffs against all county recorder of deeds in the state, and then ruled in favor of the plaintiffs class, finding the fee unconstitutional based on the state constitution's uniformity and due process clauses.

On appeal, the state supreme court rejected the trial court's reasoning that the fee violated the uniformity clause, finding that there is a reasonable relationship between people who have to pay the surcharge and the recording of real-estate related documents because people with a legal interest in real estate benefit from stable real estate values.  The supreme court also rejected the trial court's finding that the fee violated the due process clause for the same reason - providing financial stability to vulnerable residents through housing subsidies improves property values, which benefit people who record real estate documents.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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