Can owners keep email addresses private?
Q. I know the Illinois Condominium Property Act was changed for 2018 to require associations to provide owner email addresses and telephone numbers to other owners. I thought I heard some "buzz" that the Condominium Property Act was changed again to now eliminate this requirement. What can you tell me?
A. Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act was amended, effective Jan. 1, to expand the personal owner information that associations must make available to owners to examine and copy. This expanded personal information includes unit owner email addresses and telephone numbers. However, no further change has been made to the Condominium Property Act regarding this issue.
I think you may be referring to changes made to the Chicago Condominium Ordinance.
Chicago amended the Chicago Condominium Ordinance, effective May 25, under its Home Rule authority. The previous version of the Chicago ordinance, adopted earlier in 2018, provided that unit owner names, physical addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers and weighted votes of all members entitled to vote could not be inspected, examined or copied by other unit owners. This was adopted by the city to protect the privacy of owners that was compromised under the Jan. 1 change to Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act.
The newest version of the Chicago Condominium Ordinance provides that unit owners do not have a right to inspect, examine or copy the email addresses and telephone numbers of other unit owners in the association pursuant to Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. However, owners again may inspect, examine and copy the names, physical addresses and weighted vote of all members entitled to vote.
The latest change to, and current version of, the Chicago ordinance partially reverses the broad privacy protections regarding owner personal information provided in the amendment enacted earlier this year. The change is reasonable, in that the prior amendment to the Chicago Ordinance was probably overly broad.
Many unit owners in condominium associations throughout the state would like to see a change to Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act that is similar in affect as the change made to the Chicago Condominium Ordinance. That is, many condominium owners do not want their email addresses and telephone numbers to be available to other owners. This will take an act of the Illinois legislature.
So, not only do Illinois associations need to know what type of association they are, in order to know what statute governs them, owners of condominiums need to understand that the applicable laws may differ between the city of Chicago and the suburbs!
Q. Our condominium association has adopted a rule permitting owners to consent to receive notice electronically, and to conduct business by acceptable technological means. The rule also says that owners who do not consent to receive notice electronically will be charged to receive notice by regular mail. I do not have a computer, so I can't easily receive electronic communications. Can the association charge me to receive notices by regular mail?
A. No, the association cannot charge you to receive notices by mail. That mailing would be at the association's expense. This is governed by Section 18.8(f) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. That section provides that "if any person does not provide written authorization to conduct business using acceptable technological means, the association shall, at its expense, conduct business with the person without the use of acceptable technological means."
• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs. 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.