By exploiting the highly ambiguous Section 15 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, developers and their zombie Homeowner Association boards of directors can easily oust unwitting unit owners–and it’s all legal. In analyzing just such a case that was before the DuPage County Circuit Court, Huntington Condo. Ass’n v. Grimm, and viewed through the clarifying twin lenses of Eminent Domain and notions of fair play and justice, one cannot help but conclude that Section 15 of the Act is desperately in need of a dramatic rewrite. I propose one here. But more so, in the quest for clarity of the Act, we must also carefully consider that Section 15’s purpose is a delicate balance between the necessity of a defined way to dispose of distressed property, and the property rights of individual unit owners–and one of just compensation. In this article, we will first delve into the history of the Act in Illinois and its origins and purpose. Next, we discuss the types of properties subject to the Act, and how distressed condominium projects trigger Section 15 of the Act. Then, the deconversion process is explained. A comparison of valuation schemes is made. The Act is then examined to identify its ambiguity and how this ambiguity impacts the practical application of Section 15 of the Act to the deconversion process. Lastly, new Section 15 language is proposed.
Joseph C. Alfe, How a Zombie Condo Board Can Ruin Your Day: The Case for Rewriting Section 15 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, 52 UIC J. Marshall L. Rev. 1 (2018)