—Feeling the Cold in Chicago
“Generally, replacements to the common elements are paid for as a common expense and therefore, subject to the exceptions below, the association may be responsible for the costs if the windows and terrace door are a part of the common elements. However, even when windows and terrace doors are deemed to be a part of the common elements, the declaration may contain exceptions for costs related to replacements of windows and doors which shift the responsibility to the unit owner.
“Further, section 12(c) of the Act allows the board, in the case of a claim for damage to the common elements, to require the owner of the affected unit to pay the amount of the association’s insurance deductible. Therefore, even if the windows and terrace doors are a part of the common elements, your board could still make a determination that you are responsible for the costs to the extent that they do not exceed the amount of the association’s insurance deductible.
“Unless your declaration specifically provides otherwise, Section 4.1 of the Act provides that windows and terrace doors, which serve your unit exclusively, are deemed to be limited common elements and therefore you will need to determine whether there is a section in your declaration which references responsibility for costs relating to limited common elements. In the absence of such a section, costs for limited common elements are treated the same as all other common elements.
“For declarations which make reference to costs for replacing limited common elements, the section will generally include one of the following provisions: (i) the unit owner is responsible for 100% of the cost; (ii) the association is responsible for 100% of the cost; (iii) the board has the discretion to pay for some or all of the costs; or (iv) the board has the discretion to pay for a portion of the costs (i.e., less than the entire amount).
“In situations where the board has discretion, you may look to what the board has done in the past with respect to other unit owners who have suffered damage to their windows and terrace doors to determine if there is any precedent for the association to pay for all or a portion of your costs.”