Are Your Condominium Association’s Leasing Restrictions Lawful?

Condominium associations can generally determine whether or not they want to allow renters. If they choose to allow renters, they can then decide to what extent renters are allowed.  They can limit the term of the lease, the total units available for rent, and require tenants to submit to background checks.  But whatever they do, they have to go about it the right way.  A recent decision by the appellate court, Stobe v. 842-848 West Bradley Place Condominium Association, 2016 Il App (1st) 141427 (Feb 3, 2016) Cook Co., 3rd Div., proves just that.

In Stobe, the association’s condominium declaration allowed owners to rent their units.  The condominium association’s board, however, had adopted rules that limited how many units could be leased at a time.  The plaintiff argued that this conflicted with the condominium declaration.  Clearly, the intent was to allow owners to lease their units, and it was wrong of the association board to restrict owners’ right to rent by passing rules to the contrary.

The court agreed with the plaintiff, stating that since the condominium declaration allowed leasing, the declaration itself would have to be formally amended in order to restrict or expand leasing rights in any way. This would involve a vote of the unit owners.  Leasing could not simply be restricted through a rule written by the board.

So it turns out that that the association certainly had the right to restrict leasing, but only if it was done the right way. The board couldn’t play fast and loose with the declaration by changing it through the rules.  If you’re on the board of a condominium association that restricts leasing, you may want to evaluate the association’s documents to make sure that your leasing restrictions are lawful.  And if you’re an individual that isn’t being allowed to lease his or her unit, you may want to do the same!