Q&A: Dilemma Over Inheriting a Relative’s Estate

Q. “I inherited a condo – my father in died September 2016. I have been paying the mortgage and assessment fees since his death. I can no longer continue to pay for the condo. I talked to the president of the association and stated to her my nephew would like to move in. She stated to me that he would have to be 55 years of age and be interviewed by the board. Now she tells me the bylaws say that I cannot rent or lease the condo, and that it has to be sold. The problem is the condo costs more than what it can sell for. That is causing a hardship on me and putting me in a position to either foreclose or lose it. I would like to know what other options do I have.” 

 — Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

A. “It looks like the reader has a few issues before them with this unit,” says James R. Stevens, a principal at the Chicago-based law firm of Chuhak & Tecson, PC.  “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for families handling a relative’s estate to have to deal with a residential unit in an association that may have restrictions on it, such as age restrictions in an age-limited community or a rental restriction.  It is impossible from the question asked here to say what the reader should do with this unit without a full review of the bylaws and facts of the case, which the reader should obtain from their personal attorney.  Depending on the proper establishment of a community, it is possible to have an age-restricted or limited community in certain circumstances. Most often, these communities are limited to owners of a certain age and often are found as “55-and-over” communities, either established as condominium or homeowners associations.  These limitations can prevent people under the age restriction from owning a unit in the complex, but some may not preclude under-limit residents from occupying the premises; it would generally depend on what is in the specific covenants for that property and how their restrictions are structured.  As for the requirement that the reader sell the unit rather than rent it, many associations (at least in Illinois) have a hardship clause in rental restrictions that may allow the party responsible for the unit to ask the association for a brief exception to the restriction based on demonstrated hardship. Whether the particular facts of a hardship situation are valid for a waiver is often in the board’s discretion, so there is no bright line rule of what constitutes hardship or not. For the reader, I would suggest they speak with an attorney in their area to determine what their options would be.”

Related Articles

Q&A: Changing the House Rules

Q&A: Changing the House Rules

Resident Rights

Knowing Them, Upholding Them

Q&A: Electing a New Board

Q&A: Electing a New Board