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posted: 6/7/2014 12:01 AM

Tax purchaser subject to association's bylaws

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Q. A unit in our condominium association was sold at a tax sale. The unit owner never redeemed the taxes and the tax purchaser received a tax deed. The tax purchaser says he is not subject to the association's declaration of condominium. Is that correct?

A. No, it is not correct. The Condominium Property Act addresses this issue.

In the event a tax purchaser obtains a tax deed to a condominium unit, the acquired interest is subject to the terms, provisions, covenants, conditions and limitations contained in the declaration, the plat and the bylaws. As a side note, the tax purchaser is not responsible for any of the assessments that were due and unpaid by the former unit owner. That is different from the possible obligation of a person who acquires a unit in a mortgage foreclosure sale.

Q. I am thinking about converting my six-flat apartment building into a condominium. Will I be required to bring the building into compliance with current building codes?

A. It depends on the ordinances of the municipality in which your building is located. The Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that a municipality has the right to inspect the apartment building prior to the conversion to condominium units. Further, a municipality may require that each new proposed condominium unit comply with the current life safety, building and zoning codes of the municipality. You and your attorney should review the requirements of your municipality.

Q. I read your recent article about workshops and the Palm II decision. We have a homeowners association for our subdivision. The board meets regularly for in-planning workshops to discuss neighborhood issues, but no formal vote is taken. These meetings are not open to the owners. Can these continue?

A. Initially, let me state that I don't ever remember a case in the association field in Illinois that has created the "buzz" created by the Palm II decision out of the first district appellate court. A quorum of the board may no longer meet in planning workshops that are closed to the owners. The definition of a "board meeting" is the same for a condominium as for a common interest community association. The Palm II decision involved a condominium. However, since there is not significant distinction between these two types of associations insofar as this issue, a planning workshop attended by a quorum of the board of a common interest community association must open to unit owners, and notice of the meeting must be provided.

These closed meeting workshops could continue if comprised of less than a quorum of the board. But that may defeat the purpose of such gatherings.

Q. Our association's governing structure includes various committees appointed by the board. Board members sit on a committee, but a quorum of the board is not present for the committee meetings. Must these committee meetings be open to owners?

A. A gathering of less than a quorum of the board is not a board meeting. Therefore, it would not require notice and would not have to be open to owners. However, since Palm II called into question the use of bodies to which a board seeks to delegate certain of its responsibilities, the board would be wise to consult with an attorney to make sure these committees are permitted and properly established.

Q. Is the Palm II decision binding now or not until some date in the future?

A. The Palm II decision is binding on Illinois associations at this time.

Q. Are there consequences for a board of directors that acts contrary to the Illinois Condominium Property Act?

A. As in the Palm II case, a board could face a lawsuit from an owner seeking to enjoin the board from the improper conduct. Given the proper facts, an owner may also be able to seek monetary damages from the association.

• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in Buffalo Grove. Send questions for the column to him at The firm provides legal service to condominium, townhouse, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives. This column is not a substitute for consultation with legal counsel.

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