Litigation by unit owners against condo associations is fairly common. Regardless of the claims’ merit, boards often find themselves having to expend significant resources to defend against claims or to avoid potential litigation. However, recent case law may help reduce the number of meritless claims that associations have to defend against.

In 1618 Sheridan Rd. Condominium Association v. Marshall Spiegel, a Cook County Circuit judge imposed a $1 million sanction against a lawyer and his client for filing a frivolous lawsuit. This penalty against the owner may help to deter other frivolous lawsuits.

Additionally, in Georgia Peters v. The Royalton Condominium Homes, Inc. the court refused to set a precedent that would require associations to exercise a higher standard to discover defects or dangers on their property. In this case, a member of an association was struck by another member's vehicle in the parking lot. It seemed like a simple personal injury case, until the Plaintiff raised 18 allegations of negligence against the association.

The Plaintiff claimed the association failed to properly address safety concerns in a parking lot. The court found that the Plaintiff “was in the best position to prevent the injury and placing a burden on the defendant to guard against the negligence of others ‘would place an intolerable burden on society.’”

While associations should always act to mitigate any potential safety issues on community property, this decision may help to prevent them from being held to unreasonable standards.

To learn more, click here.

 

Generally, common expenses must be assessed against all owners. However, a dog pickup service is an example of a common expense that only applies to specific owners.

While all owners would benefit from a pet waste free living space, it does not make sense to charge all owners, or even, all pet owners.

Charging dog owners for certain expenses can be complicated, especially when owners’ dogs will vary in number, size, and duration of stay in the building. Calculating charges could quickly become messy. 

The best approach is to encourage responsible pet ownership by providing easy access doggy pickup bags and disposal containers.

Read more here

This Saturday, September 14th, Haus Financial Services Owner, Lauren Peddinghaus, is co-presenting a seminar for condo owners and prospective owners. 

If you own a condo, or are interested in purchasing one, attend this seminar to learn:

  • How unpaid assessments and owner foreclosures, bankruptcies and tax liens may affect your association.
  • Get an overview of the various options for addressing these issues in your association.
  • Discover strategies for determining the best action plan to protect your investment without breaking the bank.

To learn more, click here

 

A recent news story investigated how Chicago businessman, Michael Lazarus, is buying up several units in a Lakeview condo building. This has created major upset among long-time owners who may now have to sell their homes for less.

In 2017, this association’s Board of Directors got ride of a rule limiting the ownership of units by a single person, or company, to two. Lazarus now owns 17 units, which is almost 30% of the building.

In an ABC 7 interview about the situation, Haus Financial Services’ owner, Lauren Peddinghaus, explained how the situation affects the value of other units.

She said it is very risky for so many units to be owned by one person or entity. If that entity goes under, the whole building could be compromised.

According to a 2018 report, the share of home sales bought by investors has reached its highest level in 20 years. Community associations are facing an imminent threat of legislation impacting their ability to adopt and enforce rental restrictions on real estate investment companies buying up homes.

As a results, community associations should start having conversations now about adopting rental restrictions.

To learn more, click here.

Under a recently proposed ordinance, condo owners in Chicago would have to persuade more of their neighbors to sell all building units to a developer.

For the past five years, developers have been buying up entire condo buildings in bulk in neighborhoods like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Gold Coast, with the intent of switching them to apartments. In that time, owners who are opposed to selling have complained about a “tyranny of the majority” in which everyone is required to sell if three-quarters of a building votes in favor.

Under this newly proposed ordinance, the percentage of association owners who would have to vote in favor for a bulk sale to go through will increase to 85%.

According to attorney, Craig Capilla, raising the bar for a vote to approve a sale might reduce the number of condo associations that try to sell in bulk.

The ordinance will not go anywhere until the next Chicago City Council meeting on September 18.

To learn more, click here.

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