L.A. from Cook County, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I recently purchased a condo with a washer/dryer hookup. I purchased a washer/dryer and used it for about a month before I was sent an email from the HOA board that in unit washer/dryers were not allowed as of 2017. Those who had them were grandfathered in, but once the unit changed hands, the new owners were not allowed to have them.
This is apparently stated in the bylaws which I should have received at closing. I did not, although the board claimed to have prepared them. They also claim that my realtor knew washer/dryers weren’t allowed which makes no sense because she helped us measure the closet for a w/d and discussed ventless models with us. I don’t know how they “know” she knew.
I have asked the association for the bylaws 4 times and have still not received a copy. The w/d will need to be removed within 30 days or I will face fines, and the board wants us to pay to have the pipes capped.
What legal rights do I have to keep the washer/dryer in my unit since I never received the bylaws, and was not informed of this before purchasing the condo? A condo with an in-unit w/d option is a deal breaker for me and I would never have purchased this condo if I had known.
If I do need to remove the washer/dryer should it have then been the responsibility of the previous owner or even the board itself to ensure that the pipes were capped before the unit changed hands? What rights do I have in this situation?
Mister Condo replies:
L.A., this really is some dirty laundry we are about to air! You are getting a bit of a runaround from almost all involved here from what I can deduce. You claim that you weren’t provided a copy of the association’s governance documents at your closing. That is both shocking and likely a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the association and/or their management agent. Were you represented by an attorney at your closing? Realtors are not legally responsible for much more than representing either you or the buyer during the sales transaction. They can’t lie but an error of omission can hardly be held against them. Your lawyer on the other hand can put some legal teeth into this documentation fiasco. At the end of the day, from a practical standpoint, you might want to look at selling the unit and moving to a condo where you will be allowed a washer and dryer. For whatever reason, this condo has decided they are not welcome in their building. Unless you attorney advises you otherwise, it is unlikely that you will be allowed the appliances in your new home. Good luck!
1 thought on “Misled Condo Purchaser Upset to Learn Washer/Dryer Not Allowed”
These details are often outlined in the statutes, and they are in IL’s Condominium Property Act. (765 ILCS 605/). A cursory glance, I cannot tell if the pertinent IL statute has been amended, superseded, but it says for the “prospective purchaser, upon demand””:
“(g) In the event of any resale of a unit in a master association by a unit owner other than the developer, the owner shall obtain from the board of directors and shall make available for inspection to the prospective purchaser, upon demand, the following:
(1) A copy of the declaration, other instruments and
any rules and regulations”
It also says:
“The principal officer of the unit owner’s association or such other officer as is specifically designated shall furnish the above information when requested to do so in writing, within 30 days of receiving the request.”
Since it says “upon demand,” I didn’t see if you requested these documents prior to conveyance/transfer, esp. “in writing.” There were things I didn’t know to ask beforehand, such as finding out afterwards about extremely low reserves, never having purchased a condo before, and faced wave after wave of huge assessments, some to be paid in full within a short timeframe, that many of us had to take out large loans on top of our mortgage, and large hikes in condo fees to gain adequate reserves – some foreclosed. All I knew is I liked the condo had “low condo fees,” but it turned out to be very expensive and sacrificial to pay all these unanticipated costs over a period of ten years. Your condo assn may have had water problems from washers, or causing problems with pipes in the walls. It could be a way to spare you from leaks and big insurance claims!
Even though it is important to you, in condos, it can cause headaches. Many people in my complex don’t want a washer in their unit, esp on upper floors, even though they are allowed, and some have removed them due to leaking, or the space they take up.
If you had a closing attorney, they should be able to provide you guidance and options about next steps. Hopefully you will get your copy of the documents soon.