moisture intrusion that can lead to many other costly issues. Visually beautiful parapet walls can become a money pit when they start to crumble or succumb to age without proper maintenance. In addition to those structures that were originally built as residences, there are a large number of former factories and warehouses that have been converted to accommodate a residential community; a concept that holds visual appeal but comes with inherent challenges. Old plumbing, electric, windows and structural challenges whose cost to repair and replace surface after the developer is gone can leave a new set of owners wondering if buying in a vintage or historic building was the correct choice, and can leave managers struggling to create budgets that can fund the repairs without pricing the unit owners out of the market.


In the suburbs, the younger buildings can pose just as much of an issue as boards and managers struggle with inferior building materials or craftsmanship from developers that have left them with siding or roofs that leak moisture or unable to withstand wind and rainstorms. While this has created a cottage industry for the contractors that make the repairs and the banks who lend the money to fund the work, the idea that a “younger” structure is without worry for long periods of time can be an expensive and frustrating myth for board and unit owners alike.


The large number of community associations contained within the City of Chicago brings with it a unique set of challenges for city managers. They face a City Council working to create ordinances and zoning laws that create a balance between safety, proper inspections and cost. On June 29, 2003, 13 people died in a third-floor porch collapse on Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago; an event that forever changed how the city approached inspections and permit approvals for such structures. It would be nearly impossible for a property manager to anticipate such an accident would occur, yet porches are often included as a limited common element and fall under the purview of the boards and managers to maintain. The porch that collapsed in 2003 passed city inspections and the cause - whether too many people were on the porch or structural integrity of the porch - was left to the courts to decide. Nonetheless, managers are left to try and work through a maze of ordinances while facing unit owners who want the most minimal of assessment increases.

The year 1999 began with a continuation of terra cotta falling from older structures, prompting the city to implement requirements for closer inspections. Managers of older buildings were suddenly faced with having to include funding from assessments - or seek financing - to have the inspections completed and repairs completed where necessary. Again, unanticipated accidents where injury or loss of life occurs

Professional Property Management for Chicago’s Finest High Rise Condominium Communities

Community Specialists

680 North Lake Shore Drive, Suite 1326 Chicago, IL 60611 312.337.8691 48 | COMMON INTEREST® • Spring 2020 • A Publication of CAI-Illinois Chapter

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