Q. Can a condominium association change the unit owner’s right to lease his or her unit?
—Last but Not Leased
A. “A unit owner enjoys an inherent right to lease his or her unit—subject to recorded covenants that run with the property as set forth in the specific language of the Declaration of Condominium Ownership (“Declaration”),” says attorney Charles T. VanderVennet of the Law Office of Charles T. VanderVennet, P.C., in Arlington Heights, Illinois. “The leasing of a unit must conform to any “right of first refusal” or “first option to lease” that may be vested in the condominium association by those covenants.
“In the absence of any specific prohibition or restrictions on leasing in the declaration or any amendments thereto, a unit owner can lease his or her unit. Section 18(n)(ii) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act requires the unit owner who is leasing the unit to “deliver a copy of the signed lease to the board or if the lease is oral, a memorandum of the lease, not later than the date of occupancy or 10 days after the lease is signed, whichever occurs first.” The condominium association may have rules that impose administrative requirements on the leasing process so long as those rules effectively do not impose a restriction.
“Even though a leasing prohibition or leasing restrictions can dramatically change a unit owner’s ability to use his or her unit as intended, case law supports the removal or restriction of the unit owner’s leasing right if the original covenants contain such provisions or if the leasing right is prohibited or restricted in whole or in part by means of a valid, properly-adopted and recorded declaration amendment.