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Based on conversations with my clients, despite the initial uproar, the sky has indeed not fallen - the majority of associations have successfully avoided ugly situations (such as litigation). Certainly, there are exceptions to this – some associations have found themselves mired in lawsuits with association members for failure to properly supply requested records in a timely fashion – but most have avoided it. It certainly helps that the City of Chicago adopted the Chicago Privacy Ordinance in April 2018 (which was subsequently amended in June 2018) to provide condominium associations located in Chicago a respite from providing email and phone information (unless 2/3 of the unit owners vote to dispense with the protection and follow the ILCPA requirements). Condominium associations outside of Chicago, which do not enjoy the same privacy protections, must follow the ILCPA to the letter. Most have managed successfully, providing the personal email and phone number information upon request while instructing unit owners displeased with having their contact info shared to simply block certain phone numbers and email addresses as necessary. The 10-business day turnaround time is burdensome, to be sure, and continues to keep property managers and boards on “high alert” when a document request comes in, but as more and more information is stored and accessible electronically, even this requirement has become less onerous.


Now that some time has passed, it’s worth giving the Common Interest community a reminder about their associations’ obligations to produce certain information. The same questions continue to crop up – how do we oblige the requests? How much can we charge to provide that information? What information can remain private?


For condominium associations, those answers are mainly found in Section 19 of the ILCPA. For non-condominium community associations governed by the Common Interest Community Association Act (“CICAA”), most of those answers are contained in Section 1-30(i) of the CICAA. For community associations that are not governed by either the ILCPA or the CICAA, the board can determine its obligations by reviewing its association’s declaration and bylaws.


Timeframe. As stated, condominium associations have a tight turnaround from the time of receiving the written request to the time the documents must be produced (10-business days from the date of the receiving the written request). Homeowners associations are provided a bit more time, as Section 1-30(i)(1) provides the association 30 days (calendar days, not business days) from the date of receiving a member’s written request. Note that both


16 | COMMON INTEREST®


THE SKY HAS NOT FALLEN…


the ILCPA and CICAA provide that the requests must be made by an authorized party in writing – a simple verbal request in the hallway to a property manager does not start the clock ticking. The association member must submit the request in writing.


Under both the ILCPA and the CICAA, failure to produce the documents to which the requesting party is entitled within the timeframe is deemed a denial of the request. This opens the association up to liability, as the requesting party can file a lawsuit to compel examination of records and recover attorneys’ fees and costs from the association. Needless to say, that is a situation that should be avoided, so be sure to act promptly upon receiving the written request, and check with your association’s legal counsel if you are unsure of how to proceed.


Authorized Parties. There are often questions as to who is permitted to request the documents of the association, as there are myriad parties attempting to do so, from prospective purchasers and their attorneys, lenders, and even tenants. Board and managers should remember that both Section 19 of the ILCPA and Section 1-30(i) of the CICAA are intended to provide access to documents to association members only (though there are exceptions for a member’s “authorized agents,” such as attorneys or others exercising power-of-attorney for the member’s property). Lenders, prospective purchasers and their attorneys, and tenants do not have rights to association documents under the aforesaid sections. The proper response to those individuals and how they should go about getting association information is best left for another article. The takeaway here is simply that those “written requests” that we discussed in the prior section must come from an association members or unit owners (with certain exceptions).


Exceptions and Miscellaneous Items. While the CICAA is more limited in what association members may request, the ILCPA is fairly broad, as Section 19(a)(9) requires the association to produce the “books and records” of the association. The section goes on to detail some of what the State Legislature intended to be included with the term “books and records,” but it does not limit the definition, allowing one to conclude that there is a quite a bit of information that falls beneath the awning of “books and records.” Fortunately, the Section 19(g) of the ILCPA does contain exceptions (i.e. a list of documents to which a general unit owner is not entitled), so be sure to reference that particular language before providing everything within


• Winter 2018 • A Publication of CAI-Illinois Chapter


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