We have not heard much from the real estate taxation bar or otherwise about the Illinois Housing and Development Authority (“IDHA”) homeowner property tax relief. www.ihda.org The Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund is taking applications for up to $30,000 in free assistance to pay past due taxes, mortgage payments, insurance, etc. This applies to delinquent property taxes and applications will cover up to $30,000 in free assistance.

Applications at https://www.illinoishousinghelp.org/ilhaf

Deadline: MUST APPLY by May 31, 2022

Eligible ILHAF program applications may apply for up to $30,000 of assistance in the following categories:

  • Past due mortgage payments for your primary and subordinate mortgages or for mobile home loans if they apply. Including escrowed costs.
  • Up to three future mortgage payments for your primary mortgage.
  • Past due non-escrowed property taxes.
  • Past due non-escrowed property hazard insurance and/or flood insurance payments.
  • Past due non-escrowed association dues and fees, including for homeowners associations, condominium associations and housing cooperatives.
  • Past due lot rent for manufactured/mobile homes.

The ILHAF assistance is available for Illinois homeowners that meet the following requirements:

  • Own a property in Illinois used as your primary residence.
  • The property must be a 1-4 unit building, condo, townhouse, manufactured or mobile home.
  • Applicants must have a mortgage on the property that is delinquent at least 30 days.
  • For applicants without a mortgage, you can still apply for property tax assistance if your taxes are past due.
  • Household income must be below 150% of your county area median income, can be viewed here: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il2021/select_Geography_haf.odn.
  • Have experienced a COVID-19 related hardship, meaning a decrease of income or increase in costs, that began, continued or worsened during the pandemic, even if it began prior 1/21/2020.

            We urge all property owners who have been impacted by the pandemic, economic hardship or other hardship to get your application in before the deadline.

            This year, the rapid property tax sales include the 2018 Annual Tax Sale, 2019 Annual Tax Sale, and the 2022 Scavenger Tax Sale. The delinquent tax buyers are moving swiftly independently and through court action to add the highest amount of penalty and interest to the tax sales by ensuring that additional penalty be added to the amount of the certificate.

            Redemption deadline dates on these rapid tax sales vary between 6 months to 2 1/2 years from the date of each of these sales.  It is urgent that you apply prior to May 31, 2022 to receive up to $30,000 in property tax payment relief that may be used to assist in redeeming or preventing tax sales.

            The tax buyers will work diligently to ensure that all possible subsequent year taxes be posted to their tax sale so that any redemption amount will be drastically increased, inclusive of a generous penalty, interest and costs. What you may have thought was a minimal amount of delinquent taxes can quickly escalate to the tax buyer’s advantage into tens of thousands of dollars for any given property.

            If you receive a notice or any other contact from the tax buyer, keep in mind that the tax buyer and the tax buyer’s attorney do not have your legal interests in mind. Instead, the attorney, who could be both the tax buyer as well as the attorney, only has its desire to reap windfall financial profit by taking title to your property.  If you are directed by any person to contact the tax buyer who has purchased delinquent taxes on your property, be mindful that their interest is not to assist you in thwarting their case and the taking of your property. Obtain an attorney to represent you. If you cannot afford an attorney, contact legal aid assistance programs.  

            Until a tax deed is recorded, the tax buyer has no legal right to enter, inspect, or come onto your property. If you receive harassing telephone calls, please contact an attorney to represent you. The tax sale process is complicated and involves technical legal actions such as extending redemption, filing a petition for tax deed, and issuing notice as required by the Illinois Constitution and Property Tax Code. The tax buyer is required by law to prove that it has complied with the law, but that does not always happen. An order directing the county clerk to issue a tax deed may be entered without notice ever being issued.  If at any stage you do not understand what is happening, we urge you to obtain an attorney who is not affiliated with the tax buyer so that you may learn of your legal options independent of conflict.

Timing is crucial. Get informed. Get facts. Apply before the May 31, 2022 deadline.