Remedies for Condominium Unpaid Assessments and Fines

Web Admin - Friday, August 07, 2015

Illinois vacation home fines, real estate attorneyA condominium or townhome association has the ability to assess unit owners with common expenses and fines (collectively, “assessments”). When unit owners fail to pay these assessments when they become due, the association can pursue legal action to enforce payment. These actions can result in significant consequences against unit owners, including the potential for eviction.

Foreclosure and Eviction

One option for an association is to place a lien on the unit, which often occurs automatically when an assessment is not paid. If the past due assessment is still not paid, the lien may be foreclosed on in court. This will result in a court-ordered sale of the owner’s equity in the unit. Further, foreclosure is possible regardless of whether the unit owner is current on all mortgage payments.

Under Illinois law, it is also possible to evict a unit owner or tenant who is delinquent on the payment of any assessments. To initiate this process, the association must serve on the unit owner, through the mail, a 30 Day Notice and Demand for Possession (demand, with return receipt requested. If the demand is properly mailed, effective notice is deemed to have occurred, which means that the demand does not actually have to be received by the unit owner.

The effect of the demand is that a unit owner has 30 days to pay the outstanding amount. If the unit owner fails to make this payment, an association can sue to evict the owner from the unit through a forcible entry and detainer action. Included in the lawsuit will be a claim for all unpaid assessments and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

In some circumstances, partial payment may resolve the issue because an association can agree to withdraw the demand in exchange for partial payment. However, if the association does not agree to withdraw the demand, partial payment does not affect the eviction or demand. If after 30 days the partial payments do not total the entire amount due, the association can proceed with the forcible entry and detainer action.

If successful, the court will enter a judgment evicting the tenant or homeowner. However, by law, any enforcement of the eviction judgment must be stayed for at least 60 days, but not more than 180 days, at the discretion of the court.

After the eviction is complete, the association can lease the unit for a period of up to 13 months (which may be extended by court order) until all unpaid assessments have been paid. After all of these have been paid, the unit owner can regain possession of the unit by filing a motion with the court to vacate the judgment of possession.

Help with Real Estate Legal Issues

If you would like more information about real estate transactions or how disputes related to real estate are resolved, speak with a skilled Illinois real estate attorney today. Our firm provides diligent representation for individuals throughout the northwest suburbs, in communities such as Mount Prospect, Inverness, Palatine, Long Grove, and Riverwoods.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association. 

Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance

Web Admin - Friday, May 08, 2015

landlord tenant ordinance, Schaumburg real estate lawyerOver 60 percent of Chicago residents live in rental housing. As a result, the laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship are very important. The Chicago Landlord Tenant Ordinance governs a majority of the residential rental agreements within the city. The Ordinance places certain duties on both landlords and tenants.

What Does the Ordinance Do?

Generally, the Ordinance covers any rental units under written or oral leases. However, the Ordinance does not cover the following:

  • - Units in owner-occupied buildings that have less than six units;
  • - Units in hotels, motels, inns, or bed-and-breakfast establishments, unless rent is paid monthly and the unit is occupied by the tenant for more than 32 days;
  • - Dormitories or shelters; and
  • - Owner-occupied co-operatives.

The Ordinance requires that tenants abide by all of the obligations of the Municipal Code. Some of these duties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • - Maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (for example, by ensuring that working batteries are in the detectors);
  • - Keeping the unit as safe as the conditions of the premises permits;
  • - Avoiding disturbing other tenants; and
  • - Not causing any damage to the unit.

Landlords are also placed under duties by the Ordinance. A landlord is required to maintain the property in compliance with the Municipal Code. This includes maintaining heating facilities, the structural integrity of the building, and the building’s plumbing system, among numerous other items.

Further, a landlord cannot require a tenant to renew a lease agreement more than 90 days before an existing agreement ends. Additionally, a landlord must provide a tenant with at least 30 days written notice if the rental agreement will not be renewed. If this required notice is not given, a tenant may remain in the unit for 60 days under the same terms and conditions as the last month of the existing agreement.

Remedies for Defects

If a property has a minor defect, a tenant’s first step to remedy the issue is to provide written notice to the landlord indicating that if the landlord does not correct the defect, the tenant will have the defect corrected at the landlord’s expense. The landlord has 14 days to correct the issue before the tenant can take action. The cost to correct the issue cannot be more than the greater of $500 or one half of the monthly rent. After 14 days, if the landlord has not taken corrective action, the tenant can have the repairs completed. The tenant can then submit to the landlord a paid bill and deduct the cost of the work from the rent.

For a material noncompliance to maintain the premises, a tenant may withhold rent in an amount that reasonably reflects a reduction in value of the premises as a result of that material noncompliance. This withholding of rent may continue for as long as the material noncompliance continues. However, the withholding can only begin after 14 days have passed since the landlord was given written notice of the condition.  

If you would like more information about the rights and obligations of the parties involved in a residential rental relationship, you should speak with an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. Whether you are a landlord or tenant, Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help. Our office proudly represents clients in the Schaumburg, Palatine, and Long Grove areas, among many others. 

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

New Realtor Form Contract Comes into Use

Web Admin - Thursday, August 14, 2014

IRELA new real estate formThe Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (“IRELA”), along with a variety of other real estate organizations, maintains a form contract for realtors and their clients to use when selling a home. The IRELA recently released their new version of this, known as the Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract version 6.0, and this new contract is now in use. The new version makes a variety of changes to the old 5.0 version, many of which are technical or procedurally based. However, the contract does have some new language of which buyers and sellers should be aware.

The contract now allows for more options when dealing with escrow during the closing. It also changes how professional inspections work, requiring sellers to request portions of inspection reports. The new contract also alters how the timeline for mortgage financing affects the seller’s ability to back out of the deal. Finally, the contract changes the seller's responsibilities as far as disclosing potential issues with the home. Importantly, these are just some of the changes made during the board's updating of the contract. It is important that you consult with a real estate attorney during any real estate transaction to make sure you understand the scope of the new contract.

Version 6.0 Changes

The new 6.0 version of the Multi-Board contract contains a variety of changes from the earlier 5.0 document. First, the 6.0 document contains a new paragraph regarding who holds on to the buyer's earnest money until the closing goes through. In the prior contract, options were only available for the buyer's broker or the seller's broker to manage that. Now, the contract allows for third parties, like title companies, to hold the money in escrow.

The new contract also modifies how buyers can void the contract after a failed inspection. The contract allows buyers to hire professional inspectors to check the house for problems like radon or insect infestations. If the inspectors discover such an issue, then the buyer has the option of voiding the sale contract. However, the new 6.0 version allows the seller to request the portion of the report that the buyer is using as grounds for cancellation.

The updated document also alters the timeline for the buyer to obtain mortgage financing. The old contract used to require a “firm written commitment” from the bank that financing would be forthcoming. However, banks seldom issue such statements quickly, so the new version merely requires the buyer to prove that they have submitted the loan for underwriting by a certain date, and that the bank has given them clearance to close by another date.

The contract also requires the seller to make a variety of representations to the buyer, such as stating that the home is not currently subject to a boundary line dispute. The new 6.0 version of the contract adds extra notification duties to the seller, forcing them to make all the same representations again at closing, which means that any changed circumstances would require an update.

Contact Our Real Estate Lawyers Today

If you are currently looking to buy a new house or another piece of property, contact an experienced Illinois real estate attorney today. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our team of skilled professionals counsels clients in towns all over the northwest suburbs, including in Arlington Heights, Long Grove, and South Barrington.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.

Commercial Leasing in the Chicago Suburbs

Web Admin - Thursday, May 22, 2014

The suburban Chicago commercial leasing market has seen a slight recovery as compared to the depths of the recession, but the revival appears to be sluggish. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the market currently has an overall vacancy of approximately 24.4 percent. That number is an improvement over the low point of the recession, 25.4 percent in 2010, but it is still a long way off from 2006, during which it fell below 20 percent.

Despite this merely modest improvement, there has actually been a noticeable increase in asking rents, up 12 percent to an average of $21.94. Some experts believe that this rise in asking price relates to the fact that most owners who were in danger of losing their properties have either recovered or gotten out of the market by now. This means that current landholders are more apt to sit and wait than they are to engage in a race to the bottom over prices as they had done in the past. Consequently, hiring an attorney to help negotiate the lease can be even more beneficial.

The Benefits of Involving an Attorney

Both first time lessees and experienced business owners can benefit from investing in a savvy real estate attorney during lease negotiations. Leases are legal documents just like any other contract, and just like many other contracts, they can be filled with dense legalese. Lawyers specialize in dissecting such complex provisions, so that the business owner can be sure they understand exactly what they are agreeing to.

Yet the attorney can add more value than simply translating the lease. Experienced real estate attorneys understand the sorts of provisions likely to appear in a lease. This means that getting an attorney involved early can help negotiations move along more smoothly. Often, business owners, especially those new to commercial leasing, sketch out broad strokes of the lease in negotiations, focusing on key points like price and size of the space. Then, once they feel they have reached a final agreement, the landlord provides the full lease, and the lessee discovers other provisions like janitorial services that the initial negotiations did not cover.

This necessitates reopening negotiations after it appeared that everything had been finalized. Involving a lawyer earlier in the process can prevent such problems from arising. Lawyers with experience negotiating commercial leases can help business owners see the full field of lease terms and allow them to negotiate with confidence.         

Whether you are just beginning to think about buying space or you already have a potential lease ready for review, reach out to an Illinois commercial real estate attorney today. Our experienced team can help analyze your lease and aid you in negotiating the most advantageous deal possible. We serve clients across the northwest suburbs, including in Arlington Heights, Long Grove, and Mount Prospect.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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