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Guide Bulletin 2014-7 Updates Requirements for Chicago Vacant Property Ordinance

April 29, 2014

In today's Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (Guide) Bulletin 2014-7, we're announcing updated requirements for servicing mortgages on properties subject to the Chicago vacant property ordinance.

Since 2011, you had to register vacant properties and pay registration fees under protest due to the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago, Illinois. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) sued the city over this ordinance and entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this month.

Effective May 12, 2014, you no longer have to pay any fees or associated penalties when you comply with the Chicago vacant property ordinance, and must voluntarily register all eligible properties owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Refer to and comply with the March 28 MOU between FHFA and the City of Chicago. The MOU is included with Guide Bulletin 2014-7 as Attachment A.
  • Voluntarily register vacant properties with the city.
  • Contact the City of Chicago in writing if you're billed for fees, fines or penalties associated with the ordinance requirements. Inform them that you are not obligated to pay and ask that they dismiss the bill.
  • Call your Freddie Mac representative or (800) FREDDIE if the city refuses your request.

Please note that the revisions in this Guide Bulletin, which are directed by FHFA, apply only to the City of Chicago.

Reimbursement of Ordinance-Related Expenses

You may continue to submit reimbursement requests for Chicago ordinance-related expenses incurred before May 12. You are no longer permitted to incur additional ordinance-related expenses on or after May 12. Guide Exhibit 59,City of Chicago, Illinois Vacant Property Ordinance Expense Codes, has been updated to reflect these changes.

Reminder: Abandoned Properties

Please follow Guide Section 67.28, Servicing Mortgages on Abandoned Properties, for allowable expense limits without Freddie Mac's request for pre-approval (RPA).

To assist you with preserving and protecting neighborhoods when costs exceed the limit in Exhibit 57, 1- to 4-Unit Property Approved Expense Amounts, please submit an RPA through the Freddie Mac Reimbursement System.

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