What steps can be taken in a homeowner association if one owner is interfering with the rights of another owner?
Conflicts between owners are inherent in shared community living. And whether misconduct is a result of an owner’s natural personality or a result of medical conditions affecting that owner, the Association and its Board cannot simply turn a blind eye.
As there may be a number of corollary issues to carefully consider — rights of free speech, the possibility of mental illness which might implicate human rights statutes, and criminal implications of the subject owner’s alleged actions, a condo board, at a minimum, should conduct an investigation and get an experienced attorney involved.
Although there is due process which must be followed, it is important to remember that the ultimate remedy available in Illinois to associations in extreme cases of repeat violations of the rules is the ability to judicially force an owner to sell his/her unit. But it is equally important to understand that this should be treated as, and will be viewed by the courts as, a remedy of last resort and only in the most egregious of circumstances.
The Board is subject to a fiduciary duty to reasonably investigate any complaints alleging violations of the Association’s governing rules. The Board should start by sending the owner in question a Notice of Alleged Violation, giving the owner an opportunity to defend against the complaints at a hearing before the Board (or a committee). It is then up to the Board to make a determination as to whether the allegations in the complaint appear sufficiently meritorious to assess fines to the owner’s Unit account.
If the fines go unpaid, or if the conduct continues unabated, the Board should then consult with their attorney to discuss and approve the filing of a complaint for possession of the Unit. If this action does not serve to remedy the problem or results in danger to the community, the Board may, as noted earlier, seek to force the owner to sell the unit and leave the community.
If you are having conflict issues within your living community, call Erwin Law at 773-525-0153, or visit www.erwinlawfirm.com
THIS ERWINLAWANSWER IS DATED AS OF 04/30/2019 AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGES IN THE APPLICABLE LAWS, AS MAY OCCUR FROM TIME TO TIME. THE READER SHOULD KEEP THIS IN MIND AND SHOULD ALWAYS VERIFY THAT THIS ANSWER HAS NOT BEEN AFFECTED BY RECENT CHANGES IN THE LAW.