Delinquent condominium owners historically have been told to pay up, no matter how well the board took care of the property. But an Illinois appellate court this summer said just the opposite. The groundbreaking decision could change the course of collection proceedings nationwide.
The case, Spanish Court Two Condominium Association v. Lisa Carlson, began two years ago when the association sued the owner for nonpayment of assessments under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act. This law allows associations to take temporary possession of a unit and rent it out until the delinquency has been paid. The owner countersued the association for failing to maintain, repair and replace the common elements as required by its governing documents. The trial court ruled in favor of the association.
But the Second District Appellate Court in late June disagreed. The three-judge panel ruled that associations are duty-bound to repair and maintain the common elements and that neglect can be a viable defense, at least in eviction cases like this one. Comparing the relationships between landlords and tenants to associations and owners, they wrote: "Just as the contract principle of mutually exchanged promises can justify a tenant's refusal to pay rent, so that principle can justify a condominium unit owner's refusal to pay assessments."
Pamela McKuen of the Chicago Tribune reports on this major decision. Link to opinion here.