How to convert condos into apartments
Q: One by one, over the years, I have purchased all 11 of the units in my condominium association. I want to turn the condominium into an apartment building. What do I need to do?
A: This issue is governed by Section 16 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act.
In a nutshell, as the sole owner of all of the units, you can remove the property from the provisions of the Condominium Property Act by an instrument to that effect. The instrument, which I typically refer to as a Declaration of Removal, must be duly recorded in the county where the condominium is located.
However, the holders of all liens affecting any of the units, if any, must consent thereto or agree, in either case by instruments duly recorded, that their liens be transferred to the undivided interest of the unit owner. You would need to have a conversation with the holder of the mortgages against the individual units about all this.
Q: A siding project was started in our condominium association. The association's board of directors and the siding contractor got into a dispute, and the siding contractor walked off the job. The problem for me is that the siding for my building was removed before the contractor walked off the job. As a result, my unit is exposed to the elements, and the drywall and paint and wood floors in my unit are being damaged from rain water infiltration. The board has not done anything to protect the unit from the elements despite my repeated requests for assistance over the last two months. Is the association liable for the damage to my unit and floors?
A: A condominium association is not automatically responsible for damage to a unit's decorating and wood floors caused by water infiltration through a common element. However, an association can be liable for such damages if the association is negligent. Negligence can be demonstrated if the association is aware, or should be aware, of a common element problem that is causing unit damage, and if the association does not take timely and appropriate action to address the common element issue.
I appreciate that the board is probably trying to sort things out with its siding contractor. However, the association could have exposure to liability for the damages to your unit in this situation. The board is going to have to take some steps, at least, to protect the unit from the elements resulting from the siding that was removed.
Q: I have filed a suit against the board of my condominium association for breach of fiduciary duty. The association has records (meeting minutes) that I am entitled to under Section 19 of the Condominium Property Act, and I made a written request for these board meeting minutes. The board refused my request, citing the ongoing litigation. Can the board deny my request for this reason?
A: Minutes of all meetings of the association and its board of managers for the immediately preceding seven years are generally books and records that an owner is entitled to examine and copy under Section 19 of the Condominium Property Act.
However, Section 19 also states that unless otherwise directed by court order, an association need not make the records available for inspection, examination or copying by its members that relate to actions pending against or on behalf of the association or its board of managers in a court or administrative tribunal, or that related to actions threatened against, or likely to be asserted on behalf of, the association or its board of managers in a court or administrative tribunal. Therefore, the board can deny your request for the meeting minutes here.
Note that does not mean you have no recourse to obtain the requested minutes. You will need to utilize the document discovery process in the pending litigation to seek the requested records.
• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs. Send questions for the column to him at CondoTalk@ksnlaw.com. The firm provides legal service to condominium, townhouse, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives. This column is not a substitute for consultation with legal counsel.