Condo Law Watch

Apply Rules With A Dose of Common Sense

Despite all of the good reasons why your association may have grounds and a reason to pursue enforcement against a homeowner’s non-compliant structure, sometimes it pays to take a step back and look at the bigger picture as well. Is the structure or project so far out of line that its presence cannot be tolerated, no matter the cost? Are there dozens of would-be copycats looking for any sign of weakness who are ready to pounce? Your association will have to answer these questions for itself (with your attorney’s help, of course). Toward that end, note the following cautionary tale of enforcement run amok:

In a 2008 case out of Virginia, homeowners put up a campaign sign that was four inches too tall per existing rules. A neighbor complained and the association requested removal and the homeowner instead split the sign in two. This drew a fine and subsequent rejection of the homeowners’ request to make improvements. The association eventually lost the ensuing lawsuit and was ordered to pay the homeowners’ legal fees of nearly $100,000. This resulted in the association’s filing for bankruptcy and increasing assessments by over 400 percent.

Ultimately, it may be useful to speak with an Illinois condominium lawyer or Illinois homeowners association lawyer to discuss your association’s options.

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