Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB5923
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Full Text of HB5923  97th General Assembly



State of Illinois
2011 and 2012


Introduced 2/16/2012, by Rep. Elaine Nekritz


New Act
30 ILCS 105/5.811 new

    Creates the Condominium Ombudsperson Act and amends the State Finance Act. Creates the Office of the Condominium Ombudsperson in the Office of the Attorney General under the supervision and control of the Attorney General. Provides that the Ombudsperson shall offer training and educational materials and courses to condominium unit owners, condominium associations, and boards of managers in subjects relevant to the operation and management of condominium property and the rights and duties of a unit owner or unit owners' association. Requires the Ombudsperson to maintain a statewide toll-free telephone number, maintain information on the Attorney General's website, and provide information or assistance on matters relating to condominium property. Requires the Attorney General, based upon Ombudsperson recommendations, to report annually to the General Assembly. Provides that every condominium unit owners' association shall pay an annual fee to the Ombudsperson to cover the administration of the Act. Creates the Condominium Ombudsperson Fund as a special fund in the State treasury, to consist of fees received by the Ombudsperson, to be used exclusively for expenditures necessary for the proper administration of the Act. Repeals the Act on July 1, 2015. Effective July 1, 2012.

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1    AN ACT concerning condominium property.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Condominium Ombudsperson Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:
7    "Board of managers", "condominium instruments", "master
8association", "unit", "unit owner", and "unit owners'
9association" have the meanings ascribed to those terms in the
10Condominium Property Act.
11    "Condominium association" means a unit owners' association
12or master association.
13    "Office" means the Office of the Condominium Ombudsperson
14established under Section 15.
15    "Ombudsperson" means the Condominium Ombudsperson employed
16under Section 15.
17    "Person" includes a natural person, firm, association,
18organization, partnership, business trust, corporation,
19limited liability company, or public entity.
20    Section 10. Findings. The General Assembly finds as
22        (1) Managing condominium property is a complex



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1    responsibility. Unit owners and persons charged with
2    managing condominium property may have little or no prior
3    experience in managing real property, operating a
4    not-for-profit association or corporation, complying with
5    the law governing condominium property, and interpreting
6    and enforcing restrictions and rules imposed by the
7    condominium instruments or other applicable covenants.
8    Unit owners may not fully understand their rights and
9    obligations under the law and the condominium instruments
10    or other applicable covenants. Mistakes and
11    misunderstandings are inevitable and may lead to serious,
12    costly, and divisive problems. A Condominium Ombudsperson
13    will seek to educate unit owners, condominium
14    associations, and boards of managers as to their legal
15    rights and obligations. Effective education can prevent or
16    reduce the severity of problems within a condominium
17    community.
18        (2) The principal remedy for a violation of condominium
19    property law is private litigation. Litigation is not an
20    ideal remedy for many condominium property disputes,
21    because the disputants are neighbors who must maintain
22    ongoing relationships. The adversarial nature of
23    litigation can disrupt these relationships, creating
24    animosity that degrades the quality of life within the
25    condominium community and makes future disputes more
26    likely to arise. Litigation imposes costs on a condominium



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1    community as a whole, costs that must be paid by all unit
2    owners through increased assessments. Many unit owners
3    cannot afford to bring a lawsuit and are effectively denied
4    the benefit of laws designed for their protection. A
5    Condominium Ombudsperson will provide a neutral,
6    nonjudicial forum for resolution of condominium property
7    disputes.
8        (3) Anecdotal accounts of abuses within condominium
9    communities create continuing public demand for reform of
10    condominium property law. This results in frequent changes
11    to the law, making it more difficult to understand and
12    apply and imposing significant transitional costs on
13    condominium communities statewide. By collecting empirical
14    data on the nature and incidence of problems within
15    condominium communities, a Condominium Ombudsperson will
16    provide a sound basis for prioritizing reform efforts,
17    thereby increasing the stability of condominium property
18    law.
19        (4) The costs of the Office of the Condominium
20    Ombudsperson should be borne entirely by condominium unit
21    owners through the imposition of an annual fee.
22    Section 15. Office of the Condominium Ombudsperson.
23    (a) There is created in the Office of the Attorney General
24the Office of the Condominium Ombudsperson under the
25supervision and control of the Attorney General.



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1    (b) Commencing July 1, 2012, the Attorney General shall
2employ a Condominium Ombudsperson and other persons as
3necessary to discharge the requirements of this Act. The
4Ombudsperson shall have the powers delegated to him or her by
5the Attorney General, in addition to the powers set forth in
6this Act.
7    (c) The Attorney General, following receipt of
8recommendations from the Ombudsperson, may adopt rules
9governing practices and procedures under this Act. Any rule
10adopted under this Act is subject to the rulemaking provisions
11of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.
12    (d) Information and advice provided by the Ombudsperson has
13no binding legal effect and is not subject to the rulemaking
14provisions of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.
15    (e) The Attorney General may convene an advisory committee
16to make recommendations on matters within the Ombudsperson's
17jurisdiction. The members of any such advisory committee shall
18receive a per diem and expenses as determined by the Attorney
19General. In selecting the members of an advisory committee, the
20Attorney General shall ensure a fair representation of the
21interests involved.
22    Section 20. Training and education.
23    (a) The Ombudsperson shall offer training and other
24educational materials and courses to condominium unit owners,
25condominium associations, and boards of managers in subjects



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1relevant to the operation and management of condominium
2property and the rights and duties of unit owners, condominium
3associations, and boards of managers.
4    (b) The Ombudsperson may charge a fee for training and
5other educational materials and courses provided under this
6Section, not to exceed the actual cost of the training or other
7materials and courses.
8    Section 25. Toll-free number; website.
9    (a) The Office shall maintain a statewide toll-free
10telephone number to provide information or assistance on
11matters relating to condominium property.
12    (b) The Office shall maintain on the Attorney General's
13website the following information:
14        (1) The text of this Act, the Condominium Property Act,
15    and any other statute or regulation that the Ombudsperson
16    determines would be relevant to the operation and
17    management of condominium property or the rights and duties
18    of unit owners, condominium associations, and boards of
19    managers.
20        (2) Information concerning nonjudicial resolution of
21    disputes that may arise within a condominium community,
22    including contacts for locally available dispute
23    resolution programs.
24        (3) A description of the services provided by the
25    Ombudsperson and information on how to contact the



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1    Ombudsperson for assistance.
2        (4) An analysis, prepared each year, of changes in the
3    law affecting condominium property.
4        (5) Any other information that the Ombudsperson
5    determines would be useful to unit owners, condominium
6    associations, and boards of managers.
7    (c) Information described in subsection (b) shall also be
8made available in printed form. The Office may charge a fee for
9the purchase of such printed materials, not to exceed the
10actual cost of printing and delivery.
11    Section 30. Members of condominium board of managers or
12master association.
13    (a) Within 60 days after assuming office as a member of a
14board of managers or a master association, every such member
15shall certify that he or she has read each of the following:
16        (1) The condominium instruments relating to the
17    condominium property administered by the board of managers
18    or master association.
19        (2) This Act or, if the Ombudsperson prepares a
20    detailed summary of the requirements of this Act, that
21    summary.
22    (b) Each member of a board of managers or a master
23association shall file the certification required by this
24Section with the Ombudsperson.



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1    Section 35. Dispute resolution assistance.
2    (a) Any interested person may request that the Ombudsperson
3provide assistance in resolving a dispute between a unit owner
4and a condominium association or board of managers that
5involves the law governing condominium property or the
6condominium instruments relating to a condominium community.
7    (b) On receipt of a request for assistance, the
8Ombudsperson shall, within the limits of the available
9resources, confer with the interested parties and assist in
10efforts to resolve the dispute by mutual agreement of the
12    (c) The Ombudsperson shall not charge a fee for services
13provided under this Section.
14    Section 40. Reports.
15    (a) The Attorney General shall submit an annual written
16report on the activities of the Office of the Ombudsperson to
17the General Assembly, no later than October 1 of each year. The
18report shall include all of the following information:
19        (1) Annual workload and performance data, including
20    the number of requests for assistance received, the manner
21    in which a request was or was not resolved, and the staff
22    time required to resolve the inquiry. For each category of
23    data, the report shall provide subtotals based on the type
24    of question or dispute involved in the request.
25        (2) Analysis of the most common and serious types of



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1    disputes within condominium communities, along with any
2    recommendations for statutory reform to reduce the
3    frequency or severity of those disputes.
4    (b) On or before January 1, 2013, the Attorney General,
5following receipt of recommendations from the Ombudsperson,
6shall submit recommendations to the General Assembly on the
7following topics:
8        (1) Whether the Ombudsperson should be authorized to
9    enforce condominium property law.
10        (2) Whether the Ombudsperson should be authorized to
11    oversee unit owners' association elections.
12        (3) Whether the scope of the application of Section 30
13    should be narrowed or broadened.
14        (4) Whether the Ombudsperson should provide or
15    subsidize mediation of condominium property disputes.
16    Section 45. Fees.
17    (a) Every condominium unit owners' association shall pay to
18the Ombudsperson an annual fee as provided in this Section.
19This fee shall be in addition to any other fees authorized to
20be charged by the Ombudsperson under this Act. The total fee
21due from an association under this Section in any year shall be
22the product of (i) the number of units composing the
23condominium property administered by the association
24multiplied by (ii) the annual fee amount for that year
25determined under subsection (b).



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1    (b) The initial annual fee amount to be used in calculating
2a unit owners' association's fee under this Section shall be
3$3. The Ombudsperson, with the Attorney General's approval,
4shall increase or decrease the annual fee amount every year to
5provide only the revenue that he or she estimates will be
6necessary for the Office's operation expenses during the next
7year. The annual fee amount shall not exceed $10, however.
8    (c) A unit owners' association is excused from paying the
9fee for a unit if another association has paid the fee for that
10unit. An association that is excused from paying the fee for a
11unit shall certify, on a form prescribed by the Ombudsperson
12for that purpose, that another association has paid the fee for
13that unit. The Attorney General, following receipt of
14recommendations from the Ombudsperson, may adopt a rule
15governing which association is required to pay the fee for a
16unit that is administered by more than one association.
17    Section 50. Condominium Ombudsperson Fund. All moneys
18received by the Ombudsperson as fees under this Act shall be
19deposited into the Condominium Ombudsperson Fund, which is
20hereby created as a special fund in the State treasury. All
21moneys in the fund, upon appropriation by the General Assembly,
22shall be used exclusively for expenditures by the Ombudsperson
23that are necessary for the proper administration of this Act.
24    Section 85. Repeal. This Act is repealed on July 1, 2015.



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1    Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
2Section 5.811 as follows:
3    (30 ILCS 105/5.811 new)
4    Sec. 5.811. The Condominium Ombudsperson Fund.
5    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect July 1,