Chicago Amends Municipal Code Regarding Association Records Access

The City of Chicago has passed an amendment to the Chicago Municipal Ordinance at section 13-72-080 pertaining to unit owner access rights for condominium association records. This amendment would allow an association to withhold disclosure of names, street addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and weighted votes of association members/owners, unless two-thirds of the owners vote to allow such access. The ordinance as passed states that upon such vote, Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act (Act) would apply. This ordinance, if and when it becomes effective, would allow condominium associations within Chicago to shield owner contact information from unit owner inspection.

Similar changes and alterations are being proposed but are not yet approved regarding Section 19 oat the State of Illinois level.

While this ordinance seems to, at minimum, roll back the often criticized changes to Section 19 of the Act that allow owners the right to access contact information for their neighbors so long as the information will not be used for commercial purposes, the ordinance is potentially subject to challenge. Section 18(b)(4) of the Act requires that condominium bylaws state the method of calling meetings of the owners. Some bylaws indicate that owners holding 20 percent of the unit ownership may call a unit owners’ meeting. Other bylaws provide that owners holding 20 percent of the unit ownership may deliver a petition for a meeting to the Board, who shall then call the meeting of the owners. The problem here is that for associations where owners may call a unit owners’ meeting, the ordinance as drafted would preclude access to information necessary to distribute notice of that meeting—owner addresses, and for associations who have adopted electronic notice, email addresses—thus creating a problem. This problem is yet unresolved and could lead to future legal challenges.

Should your association wish to discuss association privacy issues or any other matters related to community associations, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

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