N.S. from Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My condo board was informed that they had illegally implemented a rental cap in our building when the board was first formed. They repealed the rental cap and put a new rental cap to a vote. The board’s proposed rental cap was not voted in by the owners. Shortly after this the board decided to fine (yearly) non-resident owners who rent out their units. The board explained the reason for the “fee” as being because renters ask more questions of management than owners and therefore take up more time. It appears that the fine is to discourage owners from renting their units since the cap was not passed. There are already fees in place for specifics such as move in/move out, elevator time, damage deposits etc. It was brought to the attention of the board that this rule is in fact creating two classes of owner where the “fee” only applies to non-resident owners, not an actual service provided by management. Does a rule or fee/fine have to apply to all owners equally based on services used or can a condo board implement rules that only apply to certain owners?
Mister Condo replies:
N.S., if ever a Board could use the advice of a qualified community association attorney, it would appear to be yours! Rental caps are common but they need to be implemented properly to be enforceable. While I applaud their actions of proposing and implementing new rental caps, they may have once again improperly voted on the rental cap and violated the rights of the unit owners who wish to rent. All of this is determined by the Declaration of your condo which needs to be reviewed by an attorney to give you a legal answer. I am not an attorney nor am I am an expert is Illinois condo law but there are literally more than two dozen law firms and many, many attorneys practicing in this specialized are of law in your state. You can find them all at http://www.cai-illinois.org/cai-category/attorneys/. Any one of them can guide your Board through the proper process of implementing rental caps without exposing the association to lawsuits from an upset owner who will question how the rental cap was put in place. There is an interesting article in the Chicago Cooperator newspaper about this very topic. Check it out at http://chicagocooperator.com/article/qa-can-board-establish-a-rental-cap and good luck resolving this matter at your association.