Here’s the situation – a unit owner has leased his/her unit to a problematic tenant. The unit owner lives elsewhere, so it’s become the board job to “babysit” the tenant, dealing with violations, loud parties, or destruction of common elements, etc. Despite the board’s pleadings, the unit owner has no interest in managing the tenant’s bad behavior, preferring instead to ignore the problem.
Illinois Condo Law Favors the Association
The good news is that the association has recourse against the tenant and the unit owner doing the crummy job of managing that tenant. Section 9.2 of the Illinois Condominium Act (“Act”) provides a handy method for the board to evict any tenant who is violating the association’s declaration or rules and regulations. The best part is that the board can take any action necessary to evict the tenant and then charge the unit owner for legal fees involved in the eviction. This allows the association to step in, act as landlord, evict the problem tenant and bill the unit owner for the costs.
Inform the Unit Owner
Before the board starts spending association money on attorneys, it must first inform the unit owner of the tenant problems (board can’t take legal action unless it’s made the unit owner aware there is an issue). But there is a benefit to doing so; the unit owner, upon realizing her tenant is running an Airbnb operation or having 3-4 wild parties per week, will sometimes act to bring the tenant to heel, which saves the association money in legal fees and the headache of dealing with the problem.
Unit Owner Fails to Act
If the unit owner cannot be convinced to handle the problem, the association will want the lawyer to do the following:
- Send a 10-Day Notice to Evict to Tenant – The 10-Day Notice is a legal document served via process server on the tenant, telling him/her that the “party is over” and he or she has 10 days to vacate the unit.
- Send Violation Notice to Unit Owner – Along with the 10-Day Notice, the lawyer should send the unit owner a violation notice, informing him or her that the 10-day eviction notice will be served on the tenant and that the board is not only considering fines against the unit owner, but also plans to charge back all the costs associated with the eviction process to the unit.
Reaction to 10-Day and Violation Notice
Once the aforesaid mailings are sent, generally one of two things will happen:
- The unit owner, either feeling embarrassed or freaked out by the avalanche of fines and fees that she’ll have to pay, will snap to and finally put a stop to the tenant’s behavior (either actually evicting the tenant or just getting him or her to behave); or
- The unit owner will continue to lop all the responsibility on the association, allowing it to do the work of evicting the tenant (though rest assured, the aforesaid freak-out will still most likely occur when the owner opens the monthly assessment statement with all the fines and legal fees included).
Occasionally, the tenant will react to the 10-Day Notice and begin behaving without the unit owner doing anything. It’s then up to the board whether it wants to continue with the eviction. We definitely recommend, however, that when it comes to troublesome tenants thumbing their noses at the association’s declaration and rules, the board should take aggressive action to inform the tenant and the unit owner that such behavior will not be tolerated and will result in an eviction.
Illinois condo law allows the board to take any action it feels is necessary and charge all the costs back to the unit owner who dropped the ball on managing the tenant. The board should be responsive when these situations arise, as once a tenant thinks he can break the rules and throw crazy parties without repercussions, the behavior will continue and anger other unit owners who will demand action from the board. The sooner the board and manager can get their arms around the situation, the better for everyone involved.