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Are condo laws outdated? Public hearing seek opinions.

  • 200 attended previous hearing
  • Tweaks, not overhaul, says co-author of Illinois condo laws

4-Oct-08 – Disgruntled condo owners will get to voice an opinion about state condominium laws at a public hearing on Monday. Representative Harry Osterman (Democrat, 14th District) is seeking input on issues affecting condo owners and associations, as well as opinion on pending legislation to overhaul the Illinois Condominium Property Act.

Rules for condominium ownership, governance, and developer turnover are spelled out in the act that was first adopted in 1963. Two major revisions, in 1978 and 1983. were co-written by Ellis Levin, then an Illinois legislator and now an attorney for Marina Towers Condominium Association.

High supply and low demand in the real estate market have inspired lawmakers to take another look at the condo laws. Rep. Osterman, whose district includes Rogers Park and Edgewater, introduced legislation in late 2006 to establish a “Condominium Advisory Council” to conduct public hearings throughout the state and report back to the legislature next year.

Besides Osterman, members of the advisory council include one other representative, two senators, and three people appointed by Governor Blagojevich – including Jordan I. Shifrin, an attorney specializing in condominium law, who is chairman of the council.

Rep. Harry Osterman Osterman told the Chicago Journal last month he wants to “take an overall look to see what the state legislature can do to improve” the condominium act. He says every year in Springfield, four or five individual bills are introduced that deal with small parts of the act.

“The goal is to come up with policy recommendations to make it more user-friendly and to see if there are things we can do to assist condominium associations and owners.”

More than 200 condo owners, association board members, and property managers attended a public hearing in Edgewater last month. Rep. Osterman did not respond to two requests from MCO for further comment on his legislation.

When: Monday, October 6 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where: Hermann Hall Conference Center, Grand Ballroom, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3241 South Federal Street, Chicago. Google Maps

Comments may also be sent by email to Rep. Osterman at hjo17@aol.com or Sen. Maggie Hunter at senatorhunter03@sbcglobal.net.

Author of Illinois condo laws says overhaul not needed

One person who is not convinced another overhaul is necessary is the other co-author of the ’78 and ’83 amendments. Dr. Donnie Rudd says the Illinois Condominium Property Act has “withstood the test of time.”

“What the condominium property act is,” says Rudd, “is trying to react to problems that occur from year to year in condominium associations, to avoid litigation, and avoid disputes between units owners, and avoid problems between the board and unit owners and so forth. It’s a very unique instrument and in my opinion, the most advanced condominium property act in the nation.”

He says there are always going to be problems for condominium associations, particularly from appellate court decisions. “If an appellate court decides something with respect to condominium associations and it’s really going to create a problem for all associations or the majority of associations in Illinois – then should the legislature amend the act to take care of that situation? Well, absolutely, in my opinion. That’s crazy not to.”

While the Illinois Condominium Property Act should be tweaked as necessary, Rudd calls it “the most advanced and best condominium property act in the whole country.”

“If you start changing it to some type of frozen document, then you’re going to undo 30 years of historic work that is very fundamental to associations and you’re going to hurt the associations, the boards and the unit owners. Everything in that act is there for a reason.”

Dr. Donnie Rudd Rudd is currently Chief Scientist, Director of Intellectual Property, and Corporate Secretary for Regenetech Inc., a Houston, Texas company developing adult stem cell and tissue regeneration technology.

 Chicago Journal article: Illinois condo act up for reform