A.E. from Cook County, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have a question on putting a door between two adjacent condo units I own. We purchased the adjacent unit about 6 months ago and intend to keep the two units separate. Recently I requested the permission of the Condo Association to put an internal door between the two units. We told the association that we have no plans to combine the PINs or do any extensive work to combine the units except the internal door between the two. The Association seems to be OK with the proposal, however, they notified me that the Condo Declaration must be amended. I was also told I will have to pay for the attorney fees for amending the Declaration which can be up to $1,500. Here are my two questions in this regard:
1. Does the Condo Declaration have to be amended if we keep the two units separate but with an internal door between the two? I have seen some postings that said the Condo Declaration have to be amended when the units are combined. I do not see these two units as combined when the units have two separate kitchens and two separate everything including Property Identification Numbers (PINs).
2. If the Declaration must be amended, should I be responsible to pay the $1,500 amendment fee? Is it up to the Association to decide who will bear this cost?
Mister Condo replies:
A.E., for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Board would allow such a modification, regardless of Property Identification Numbers. It opens up such a huge can of worms for the association, not to mention the future owners of your two units. I understand your desire to have an internal passageway between the two units but I just don’t see what’s in it for the association other than a long-term potential headache. As for the Declaration being amended, I really couldn’t tell you what is required without reviewing the document. If there is an expense in amending the document, surely that expense would be passed on to the unit owners requiring the amendment (in this case, you). In my opinion, this is a radical alteration of the condominium that should either be denied or sent through proper channels to actually combine the two units into one unit. Individual units should not have a pass-through door for a myriad of reasons. If the Board is willing to let you do this and you really want to do so, I would think the $1500 expense for amending the documents should be the least of your concerns. All the best!