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Condominium and Community Associations

2020 and 2021 were years that no one will soon forget, with condominium associations scrambling to ensure resident safety in the midst of a global pandemic. Not surprisingly, the legislature made no changes to the Illinois Condominium Property Act (“ICPA”) in 2020 and only one change in 2021 (which allows associations to amend their declarations to require that a majority of their board members live on-site). However, the courts remained active, issuing many important rulings affecting condominium associations. These court opinions impose new requirements for rule violation hearings, address the ability of associations to prohibit short-term leasing through websites like AirBNB, limit the type of claims association members may bring for construction defects, and expand the type of claims unit owners may bring against their associations and property managers.

Condominium, community association and cooperative apartment board members are volunteers elected by the members of their community and charged with a fiduciary duty to make decisions only with the best interests of the entire community in mind. Board members must tread carefully when balancing the responsibility to maintain the community property in a first-class condition while keeping their neighbors content by stabilizing assessment payments. On an almost daily basis, board members are exposed to a wide variety of legal questions arising from proper interpretation of the association’s governing instruments, covenant enforcement and rule violation issues, contract negotiations with vendors and service providers, collection of delinquent assessments, and foreclosure defense as well as mitigating liability when things go wrong.

Entrenched in this sector for decades, attorneys in Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s Condominium and Community Associations Practice understand the nuances and complexities distinct to the operation and administration of condominiums, community associations and cooperative apartments. We serve as trusted advisors to more than 500 condominium, community association and cooperative clients by providing governance, transactional, litigation and administrative legal services including:

Governance

  • Reviewing governing instruments and providing opinions concerning interpretation
  • Assisting with board meetings and drafting board resolutions
  • Preparing unit owner violation notices and assisting with hearing procedures

Transactions

  • Drafting, reviewing and negotiating construction, vendor and management contracts
  • Assisting with bank loan processes and drafting required opinion letters
  • Drafting amendments to governing instruments, including amended and restated declarations
  • Handling condo de-conversion and sales of unit matters

Litigation

  • Defending claims brought against the association and board members
  • Assisting with governing instrument enforcement
  • Prosecuting injunction, temporary restraining order and declaratory judgment claims
  • Prosecuting construction defect claims and actions brought by the association against developers
  • Assisting with the collection of unpaid assessments, fines, late fees and other charges

Administration

  • Assisting with processing insurance claims
  • Managing annual report filings and assisting with registered agent services
  • Managing property tax appeals
  • Handling compliance with municipal codes and defending building code violations
  • Helping to resolve labor union and employment law issues

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