One of the common requirements of selling a residential one to five unit properties (excluding condos and co-ops) is to obtain from the City of Chicago and provide to a buyer a Certificate of Zoning Compliance. The “Zoning Cert” certifies the number of legal residential dwelling units at a property address. The Certificate helps to determine if that “in-law” apartment attached to a single family home or if that tiny basement rental unit on the four flat being sold is legal or not.
Typically, a zoning certification for 2-5 units takes seven business days to obtain. For clarification, the City says the Certification will be available within 5 business days but they do not count the day the Certification request is placed, the day it is picked up, or any weekends or holidays, hence, seven business days! Because there is no determination to be made in determining one legal unit, the City used to issue a Zoning Certification for one legal unit right on the spot. That is, you could pay for the one unit certification and get it on the same day. No longer.
Patrick Murphy, the acting Zoning Administrator for the City of Chicago has sent out a notice indicating that beginning on September 4, 2018, even if a seller is selling a single family home, that seller will need to go through the seven business day process. Why? Who knows?
The bottom line is that single family home transactions will need to take at least 7 business days and probably longer as the failure to have a Zoning Cert will prevent a closing. Many sellers do not want to begin expending funds to close until attorney review is complete. Some want to wait until their buyer’s loan is approved. This change in policy could cause delays for buyers and sellers who are unaware of the required logistics.