First District Appellate Court Decision Casts Doubt on Ability to Regulate Leasing of Units by Rule Rather than Declaration Amendment
The February 2016 decision of the First District Illinois Appellate Court in Stobe v 842-848 West Bradley Place Condominium Association has cast some doubt on the ability of an Illinois condominium board to limit leasing of units through its rule making authority. Article VII of the declaration in Stobe covered the “sale, leasing or other alienation” of units. It contained a statement that if a proposed unit tenant agreed to abide by the declaration, the board’s rules and the Condominium Property Act, the board would have no right of first refusal.
The leasing article of the Stobe declaration did impose specific restrictions on leasing for hotel or transient purposes or for terms of less than six months and imposed limitations on leases of parking spaces. The article did not expressly refer to the right of the condominium board to regulate leasing by rule. The court then stated: “With that said, article VII did not expressly state that owners had the right to lease their units either.”
The appellate court in Stobe affirmed the trial judge’s grant of summary judgment striking down the attempt of the condominium board to restrict leasing by rule, interpreting the declaration’s intent to be that owners had the right to lease their units without restrictions other than those specifically enumerated in the declaration. The Stobe court said: “As stated, the declaration expressed certain limitations on leasing. If owners had no right to lease their units, the enumerated limitations would be meaningless.”
The court went on to point out: “The article on leasing did not specify that it was subject to further regulation by the Board, unlike other provisions in the declaration that did. While this omission would not alone require a determination that owners possess leasing rights, the declaration’s intent is clear when considered in its entirety: Unit owners have the right to lease their units subject to the declaration’s limitations.”
Feel free to contact a Logan Law, LLC condominium attorney, if you have any questions regarding the ability of your condominium board to impose rules restricting leasing or if you need assistance or advice regarding other areas of condominium law.
Can a Unit Owner Delinquent in Assessments Run for the Condominium Board
The Illinois Condominium Property Act provides for only a single qualification for running for or serving on the Board of an Illinois condominium association. That qualification is that the board member or candidate have an ownership interest in a unit. While a delinquent unit owner may be evicted from possession of his or her unit for non-payment of assessments, he or she may still technically remain on the Board of the Association.
In fact, the only disqualification associated with assessment delinquency is found at section 18(b)(1) of the Condominium Act, where a delinquent unit owner may not be counted for purposes of determining if a quorum is present in connection with voting for an amendment to the association’s by laws. However, even in that situation, the delinquent unit owner may still have his or her vote counted in the vote regarding the amendment.
Feel free to contact a Logan Law, LLC condominium attorney, if you have any questions regarding the rights and responsibilities of delinquent Illinois condominium association unit owners, regarding collection of delinquent condominium assessments or if you need assistance or advice regarding other areas of condominium law.
What Condominium Association Information is Available to an Illinois Condominium Buyer?
There are risks to buying a condominium in an existing condominium association, as the financial condition of the association will determine whether future maintenance and replacement needs of the condominium property will require large future special assessments. Because of this, the Illinois legislature created section 22.1 of the Condominium Property Act.
Under section 22.1, a condominium unit purchaser may request and the seller must obtain from the condominium board copies of the declaration and by laws and any rules and regulations and information about any pending lawsuits or judgments, as well as the following:
1. A statement of any liens, including a statement of the account of the unit being purchased setting forth the amounts of unpaid assessments and other charges.
2. A statement of any capital expenditures anticipated by the association within the current or succeeding two fiscal years.
3. A statement of the status and amount of any reserve for replacement fund and any portion of such fund earmarked for any specified project by the Board.
4. A copy of the statement of financial condition of the association for the last fiscal year for which such statement is available.
5. A statement setting forth what insurance coverage is provided for all unit owners by the association.
Feel free to contact an Illinois attorney experienced in handling all aspects of real estate closings for both buyers and sellers at Logan Law, LLC if you have questions about condominium law or the sale of your Chicago area real estate or any other area of the laws governing the purchase or sale of real estate.
The Right of Condominium Unit Owners to Review Association Records
The Illinois Condominium Property Act and the Chicago Condominiums Ordinance require condominium associations to comply with requests of unit owners to review Association records within thirty (30) days of written request for the records. Both laws provide that a wrongful failure or refusal to produce the records will entitle the unit owner to reimbursement of the unit owner’s attorney fees if the unit owner is forced to retain an attorney to obtain access to the records.
The Chicago Ordinance permits the unit owner to inspect the Association’s books and records of account for the previous ten (10) years, including but not limited to itemized and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures. The Ordinance does not require the unit owner to state any purpose in order to obtain access to the records.
In the case of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, records are divided into two categories. The first category, which includes the association’s declaration and by laws, articles of incorporation, meeting minutes and insurance policies, is freely available for inspection by unit owners and does not require that the inquisitive owner state any reason for the request. The right of a unit owner to inspect other documents of the association requires that the unit owner provide the association “a proper purpose” for the inspection. In the case of those other records, the unit owner must submit a written request for the records “stating with particularity the records sought to be examined and a proper purpose for the request”.
Logan Law, LLC condominium attorneys have represented Illinois condominium associations for forty five years and have a depth of experience and knowledge of Illinois condominium law. Feel free to contact a Logan Law, LLC attorney whenever you need an attorney experienced in condominium or community association law.