Tag: Condominiums

Attention Condominium & Common Interest Community Associations: Have You Prepared Your Complaint Resolution Policy Yet?

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 kgrosh@lgattorneys.com or (312) 368-0100.

Water Leaks in Condominiums–Who is Responsible for Repairs?

Water leaks are one of the most common causes of disputes between condominium owners. Water can travel between condominium units and cause significant damage to multiple units and association common areas in a short period of time. While common sense may dictate that the owner of the unit the leak originated from is responsible to pay for any resulting water damage, the condominium governing documents and applicable laws often provide otherwise.

Many factors are involved in determining who is liable for water leaks, including the cause of the damage, the association’s declaration and bylaws, and the insurance carried by the association and unit owners.

Generally, a unit owner is not responsible for damage to a neighboring unit unless the owner failed to take reasonable care in maintaining their unit or acted negligently or intentionally. For example, a unit owner would be liable for damage caused by his failure to fix a slow leaking pipe, but would not be responsible for damage caused by major storm that results in a leak from the unit. The condo association declaration, however, can expand a unit owner’s liability and could require that unit owners obtain insurance for damage to another unit caused by the unit owner’s negligence, or regardless of any negligence.

Due to the fact that all association declarations are different and that the situations in which water damage to a unit arise are different, a condominium association or unit owner should contact legal counsel in addition to their insurance carrier to determine how to handle each situation.

If you have any questions regarding your condominium association governing documents or a water leak in your condominium , please contact:

Kristen E. O’Neill at:

koneill@lgattorneys.com or 312-368-0100.

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