Section 22-5 Notice Important in Illinois Tax Sales

Importance of the Section 22-5 Take Notice (a/k/a 4.5 month notice) after Illinois real estate tax sales.

The Cook County Annual Tax Sale is underway and other Illinois counties will be holding their tax sales later this year. Many tax buyers will become successful bidders and receive certificates of purchase representing a tax lien on a property. But now what?

One of the first steps a tax buyer must take is preparing a Section 22-5 Take Notice (a/k/a as the 4.5 month notice) that must be properly completed and delivered to the county clerk within 4 months and 15 days after the tax sale (among other statutory requirements).

What if the tax buyer fails to tender the Section 22-5 Take Notice within 4 months and 15 days of the tax sale? The tax buyer cannot get a tax deed (although the tax buyer may have other remedies).

What if the tax buyer prepares and timely delivers a defective Section 22-5 Take Notice? Again, the tax buyer cannot get a tax deed.

Over the last few years, Illinois courts have ruled that tax buyers must strictly comply with Section 22-5 of the Property Tax Code. Application of County Treasurer (Glohry, LLC v. OneWest Bank), 2019 IL App (1st) 100196 (emphasis added). In Glohry, the tax purchaser listed the wrong redemption date in the form notice required by Section 22-5. Id. ¶5. It was undisputed that the owner never received the Section 22-5 notice. Id. The court stated:

“The General Assembly transcripts confirm that the purpose of the Section 22-5 post-sale notice provision was to provide a tax assessee, who is usually the property owner, with additional notice which conveys all necessary information. To achieve this goal, the legislature has indicated that a tax purchaser will not be entitled to a deed unless he gives the notice required. Permitting a tax purchaser to be entitled to a deed despite not fully complying with section 22-5 would defeat the legislature’s intent. Section 22-5 lends credence to the idea that tax purchasers should not be allowed to disclose only that information they deem relevant. Id. ¶34 (citations omitted).

*** A tax deed petitioner must do as required by the statute “[i]n order to be entitled to a tax deed.” (Emphasis added.) 35 ILCS 200/22–5 (West 2006). It would be absurd to find the legislature intended a purchaser to be entitled to a tax deed even where he had not done as required by the statute. Id. at ¶36.”

More recently in Equity One Inv. Fund, LLC v. Williams (In re County Treasurer), 2013 IL App (1st) 130463, the tax buyer included the following in the “location” of the property on its Section 22-5 Take Notice: the dimensions, the street intersection, the township, the county and the state. Id. ¶3. The tax buyer also included the property index number in the section for “Legal Description or Permanent Index No.” Id. ¶3. However, the tax buyer failed to include the common address or municipality where the property was located: “6901 South Euclid Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.” Id. ¶5. The property owner filed objections and argued that the incomplete address on the Section 22-5 notice rendered it defective. Id. ¶6.

The court in Equity One cited Glohry, In re Application of County Collector (Petition of Matthew A. Flamm, as Receiver for Salta Group, Inc.), 2013 IL App (1st) 130103 and In re Application of County Collector (Midwest v. Anderson), 295 Ill. App. 3d 703, 692 N.E.2d 1211 (1st Dist. 1998), among other cases, and held that the tax buyer had failed to strictly comply with Section 22-5 of the Property Tax Code. Equity One, ¶10-14.

The Equity One court noted that in the beginning of the Midwest Real Estate Investment decision, the appellate court noted that its task was to determine ′′how the legislature would answer the question, ’How strict is strict?’′′ The answer is, “strict.” Equity One, ¶13.

If you would like to retain our firm to properly prepare and timely place your Section 22-5 Take Notices in Illinois, please contact us to discuss. We can provide a fee quote based upon the number of tax sale certificates you have. We look forward to working with you.

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