Unit owner is allowed to see association work contracts

Q: Our condominium association hired a pest control company to perform seasonal spraying of the buildings for wasp and bees. I witnessed what to me was unacceptable work. The management company indicated the pest control company will come back out if requested by the homeowners. I would like to know exactly what is expected for each building and if balconies are included. Shoddy work should not be tolerated. Can I request the contract for the above work from the board or management company?

A: Owners are entitled to examine and copy "all contracts, leases and other agreements then in effect to which the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners have obligations or liabilities." This is described in Section 19(a)(6) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. The current pest control contract should be available for examination and copying upon a written request to the board or its managing agent.

Q: Our condominium association purchased an empty lot located next to the association. The lot is used for resident parking. Did this property become part of the common elements when it was purchased by the association?

A: The property purchased by the association did not become part of the common elements. Each condominium in Illinois has "the power to acquire and hold title to land." However, such land is not part of the common elements unless and until it has been added by an amendment to the condominium instruments, properly executed and placed of record, as required by the Condominium Property Act. This is all set out in Section 18.3 of the Act.

Q: We have a lot of people who smoke marijuana in their units in our condominium. Unfortunately, because of the existing construction of our HVAC system, there is no practical way to keep marijuana smoke from escaping a unit and entering other units. What are the guidelines for limiting the smoking of marijuana in a condominium?

A: This issue is addressed in Section 33 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act.

In a "nutshell," a condominium declaration or bylaws "may prohibit or limit the smoking of cannabis, as the term 'smoking' is defined in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, within a unit owner's unit."

However, neither the condominium declaration, bylaws nor rules and regulations can otherwise restrict the consumption of cannabis by any other method (such as edible gummies) within a unit owner's unit, or the limited common elements (private balcony). Nonetheless, the condominium declaration or bylaws, or rules "may restrict any form of consumption on the common elements," - lobbies, hallways, shared party room, etc.

Many associations are addressing issues related to migration of cannabis smoke, and tobacco smoke, into other units and common elements through amendments to their declaration or bylaws.

Q: Our condominium association adopted an amendment to the declaration that would require an owner to own and occupy their unit before they could lease their unit. For a variety of reasons, the amendment was not recorded with the county for a about a month after the night it was approved by both the board and by the owners. During this month and before the amendment was recorded, the sale of two units closed and leased to third parties; this would not be permitted under the amendment. Was the amendment effective when it was approved by the board and owners?

A: Per section 17(a) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, an amendment of the declaration or bylaws is deemed effective upon recording with the county recorder of deeds unless the amendment sets forth a different effective date. Presumably, that different date would have to be in the future, and not retroactive to some earlier date. However, the amendment adopted by the association here would have been effective when recorded; not a month earlier when it was adopted.

• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs. 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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