Chicago condo boards can negotiate without owner approval

Appeals court upholds ruling against owners

Appeals court rules against condo owners on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (Google Maps, iStock)
Appeals court rules against condo owners on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (Google Maps, iStock)

Condo associations can negotiate the sale of their buildings without approval from condo owners, according to Cook County Court of Appeals.

Owners of units 10 E. Ontario St., on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, known as the Private Residences at Ontario Place, sued the association and its board in July 2020 after receiving a memo regarding a possible sale, according to the Cook County Record.

The sale didn’t go through, as it failed to gain 85 percent approval from the condo owners when it was put to a vote in August 2020.

Some owners chose to pursue the suit anyway. According to court documents, the plaintiffs argued the Condominium Property Act empowers a bulk sale of units to owners, not an association board, until two-thirds of owners approve. They sought $25,000 from the association for pursuing the sale.

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Cook County Judge Neil Cohen ruled in favor of the association, prompting an appeal from the owners. But a three-justice panel upheld the ruling on Jan. 14, with Justice Mary Mikva writing the court’s opinion, according to the County Record. Mivka wrote that a condo board has “the power to do what is necessary for the Association as long as that power is not given expressly to the unit owners.”

The justices also noted that in February 2020 Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, introduced a bill that would have explicitly removed the board’s negotiating authority unless 75 percent of owners approved. The amendment failed, which the association said underscored its position.

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[Cook County Record] – Harrison Connery

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