Q. The board of our condominium association is considering entering into a bulk high-speed Internet service contract for all units. I don't want the service, and I certainly don't want to pay for it. Does the board have the authority to enter into this agreement and charge me for the Internet service?
A. The short answer is "yes." Section 18.4(o) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act grants the board the power to obtain, if available and determined by the board to be in the best interests of the association, bulk high-speed Internet service for all of the units of the condominium on a bulk, identical service and equal cost-per-unit basis. The board can assess and recover the expense as a common expense. The board can assess each and every unit on the equal cost-per-unit basis, rather than based on the unit's percentage of ownership.
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Q. Our association has a swimming pool. The association's rules require children to leave the pool every hour for 10 minutes while adults are permitted to stay in the pool during this time. I contend this violates the Fair Housing Act, in that the rule discriminates against families with children. What do you think?
A. The establishment of adult-swim time is not per se a violation of the Fair Housing Act. For example, it would be proper to establish a periodic (10 or so minutes) adult swim each hour. The purpose of this could be, for example, to let children take a rest or to hydrate, to permit the guards to have a short break from the stress of guarding a pool of children, or allow the guard time to check for problems with the pool or take chemical readings.
However, the creation of a lengthy adult swim time, for example, two hours each day, to permit adults to swim without children in the pool does create a risk of a successful claim for discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
Q. The management contract for our association was recently terminated. The contract includes a provision requiring the manager to deliver all of the association's books, records and funds, with an accounting, to the association within 10 days of the date of termination. Unfortunately, the manager has failed or refused to comply, and it has been three weeks since termination. The withholding of the association's property seems to be based on mere spite. Does the association have remedies in this situation?
A. The association's counsel should be requested to issue a strong reminder to the manager of the contractual obligation with a deadline for compliance. If the manager nonetheless continues to withhold the association's property, the association could file suit to recover the books, records and funds. The manager's conduct might even constitute grounds for discipline under Section 85(a)(22) of the Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act.
Q. An increasing number of units in our condominium association are being sold under an installment contract. What does this mean?
A. An installment contract (aka articles of agreement for deed) is a form of sales agreement wherein the sales price is payable in installments after the purchaser takes possession of the unit. Notably, the seller retains legal title to the unit until the purchase price is paid in full.
An installment contract is a legitimate type of transaction, and the Illinois Condominium Property Act permits their use. Moreover, this law grants significant rights to a contractor purchaser in possession of the unit. The purchaser of a unit pursuant to an installment contract for purchase is, during such times as he or she resides in the unit, counted toward a quorum at meetings held for purposes of election of members of the board, has the right to vote for the election of members of the board, and can be elected to and serve on the board (unless the seller expressly retains in writing any or all of such rights). However, in no event can the seller and purchaser both be counted toward a quorum, be permitted to vote for a particular office, or be elected and serve on the board.
Satisfactory evidence of the installment contract must be made available to the association or its agents.
• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in Buffalo Grove. 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.