The Illinois Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson Act, 765 ILCS 615/1, et seq. (the “Act”) requires all condominium and common interest community associations to have in effect by January 1, 2019 a written policy for resolving unit owners’ complaints. The Act originally established the office of the Office of the Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson (the “Ombudsperson”), whose job is to educate, train and assist unit owners, condominium and common interest community associations and their respective boards about the laws governing them, and, beginning on July 1, 2020, to assist with the resolution of certain disputes between unit owners and associations.
Before any unit owners may make complaints to the Ombudsperson, however, their associations must first prepare their own complaint resolution procedures. If you, like me, are on the Board of your condominium association, you and your board members are responsible for preparing this written policy (or directing your association’s legal counsel to prepare it) by no later than January 1, 2019.
But don’t wait until the last minute to draft the policy. Once the policy has been drafted, you must then circulate a copy of the proposed policy to the owners for review, and thereafter allow comment on the draft policy by the other owners at a properly-noticed Board meeting. At the meeting, the Board can approve the policy, and then it becomes part of the condominium declarations or other governing documents.
The policy must include: (1) a sample form on which a unit owner may make a complaint to the association; (2) a description of the process by which complaints shall be delivered to the association; (3) the association’s timeline and manner of making final determinations in response to a unit owner’s complaint; (4) a requirement that the final determination made by the association in response to a unit owner’s complaint be: (i) made in writing; (ii) made within 180 days after the association received the unit owner’s original complaint and (iii) marked clearly and conspicuously as “final”.
Keep in mind that the Act applies only to complaints by unit owners to the association—not to complaints by the association against a unit owner, or complaints by unit owners against other unit owners. Thus, typical complaints will likely include whether a Board provided adequate notice of meetings, whether the Board improperly conducted business outside of an open meeting, or whether the Board failed to adhere to governing law or the association’s governance documents.
If you or your association has questions or requires additional information on this issue, or if you or your business has any other questions regarding litigation or dispute resolution, please contact:
Katherine Grosh at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 368-0100.