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updated: 1/29/2012 8:13 AM

Law talk: Condo associations can claim units

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Q. My husband and I are both out of work and are being sued by our mortgage company for foreclosure. We have been working with them and have arranged it so we can stay here until at least our kids are out of school.

Now we are being sued by our homeowners association for unpaid association dues. They are asking for a lot of money and are also asking that they be able to take possession of the property. Is this legal? How can they take our property just because we didn't pay some association dues?

A. Yes, this is legal. Section 5/9-101 et seq. of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure authorizes a condominium association to bring an action for unpaid association dues and one of the remedies afforded an association is obtaining an Order of Possession against the owner.

There are certain rules, however, that specifically pertain to actions against condominium owners. One is that the owner must be given at least 30-days notice of the pending action and in the event the owner satisfies the outstanding obligation within that time frame, no action can be taken. The demand/notice may include regular and special assessments, late charges, interest on delinquent assessments and attorneys fees incurred prior to the demand. Partial payment made by the owner does not invalidate the notice or stop the proceedings.

Once a judgment for possession is obtained by the association, the judgment must be stayed a minimum of 60 days but no more than 180 days. This means that although the Order of Possession has been entered, the association cannot act on the Order and proceed with an eviction for between 60 and 180 days, depending on the court order.

In the event you have yet to be served with the 30-day notice, you probably have at least four months before the association could obtain possession of the property. I calculate that by adding the 30-day notice requirement, the 60-day minimum stay and at least a few weeks to file and obtain the Order of Possession. In addition, some judges routinely extend the stay past the minimum 60-day requirement. So, if your goal is to retain possession of the property to the end of May or early June, you should be OK.

Q. I purchased a property last year that had an old house, which I demolished. I received my assessment in the mail and it still shows a value for the improvements. What do I need to do to correct this?

A. If you are in one of the outlying counties, start by contacting your township assessor. With adequate proof that the house was demolished, the assessor's office may make the change without requiring you to formally file an assessment complaint. As many of the assessment deadlines have passed, you may have trouble obtaining the adjustment for the 2011 tax year, which is paid in 2012.

If you are in Cook County, contact the county assessor's office and explain your problem. You can also go to one of the county assessor's offices, located in the county building and in the satellite courthouses.

• Send your questions to Attorney Tom Resnick, 345 N. Quentin Road, Palatine, IL 60067, by email to tdr100@hotmail.com or call (847) 359-8983.

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