Section 22.1 Disclosures – A Must for Condo Buyers

When purchasing a condominium, buyers must be extra-careful. Condominiums are a form of common ownership, and come with their own set of challenges. Condominium Declarations/Bylaws and Rules and Regulations govern condo living, and must be followed to avoid fines, liens, and friction with the neighbors. Before purchasing a condominium, buyers should be diligent to make sure that they are comfortable with their purchase.

Pursuant to Section 22.1 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, the seller of a condominium is required to provide certain documents to a prospective purchaser. By reviewing these documents thoroughly, buyers can avoid surprises at or after closing. For example, the Condominium Declaration/Bylaws and Rules and Regulations typically explain condominium governance, management, and items that will affect the condominium owner daily, such as rules concerning pets, noise, renting units, parking, etc. The condominium budget will lay out how much money the association collects and spends every year, and how much debt the association has. Buyers may not be interested in purchasing property that carries substantial debt for which they will have to pay special (translate: extra) assessments on a monthly or annual basis. Sellers also must provide past meeting minutes for the buyer’s review. Meeting minutes may reveal financial or maintenance issues that the association currently has or may have in the near future.

Additionally, a Section 22.1 Disclosure form is typically completed by the condominium board or the management company of a resale condominium. The form confirms the assessment, notifies prospective purchasers of any pending special assessments, states whether or not the association has any liens or lawsuits against it, and provides insurance information for the association. In most circumstances, immediately after a contract is signed, the buyer’s attorney will request a copy of the Section 22.1 Disclosure and related documents. Buyers will usually have a few days after receipt of these documents to determine whether or not they want to proceed.

If a condominium is being sold for the first time, i.e. it is either new construction or a condo conversion, the rules are slightly different. In addition to the Condominium Declaration/Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, and budget, developers must provide a drawing of the unit being purchased. If the building is large enough, the seller may also need to provide a Property Report highlighting the pros and cons of the building’s construction.

A thorough review of the documents required under Illinois law is necessary to assist buyers in making informed decisions regarding their purchase and to determine whether a particular condominium community is right for them.