Like a python that has swallowed a deer and now needs to rest while digesting it, the Illinois General Assembly emerged from a 2014 session full of important common-interest community association legislation, and paused in 2015 to digest what it had passed.
In the first weeks of the 2015 session, only one major common-interest housing bill had been filed in Springfield—the Condo Assessment-Nonpayment-Lien Bill, HB 486, sponsored by Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy (D-14th District).
HB 486 is the latest round in a battle that began in 2014 with proposed legislation to change a condominium association’s right to collect unpaid common expenses on foreclosed units. “The current law is that when a foreclosed unit comes up for sale, the buyer is responsible for six months of all assessments and fees,” explained Gael Mennecke, executive director of the Association of Condominium, Townhouse & Homeowners Associations (ACTHA).
The 2014 bill would have extended the buyer’s responsibility from six to nine months, but limited it to regular assessments—not special assessments, late fees, chargebacks, attorney fees, costs of repairing damage to a unit, or other common expenses. Realtors backed this bill. “They want to decrease barriers to condo sales,” said Beth Wanless, national senior manager of government affairs for the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). In Illinois, IREM is affiliated with the Illinois Association of Realtors.
Community associations viewed the bill as “a further limitation on what the association could recover after a foreclosure,” said Patrick T. Costello, a shareholder attorney with the law firm of Keay & Costello, P.C., in Wheaton and Batavia. He is co-chair of the Illinois Legislative Action Committee (ILAC) of the Community Associations Institute’s Illinois Chapter. “Condo associations would have been strapped with the financial burden of foreclosed properties owing special assessments, which could be a lot of money,” Wanless added.