Discussion of Section 19

House Bill 189 (HB189) became law on January 1, 2018. It changes the language of Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, and those changes have raised concerns among condo owners.

Currently an owner (or “member” of the association) need no longer state a “proper purpose” in the written request to obtain the regulatory and financial documents of their condominium association (Section 19(b)). Clearly homeowners should have a right to see how their associations do business and obtain copies of the declaration, by-laws and rules and regulations. But Section 19(a)(7) states that these documents include “a current listing of the names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and weighted vote of all members entitled to vote.” So any member of the association may obtain that complete owners list for any reason or no reason.

Section 19(e) further addresses use of the owners list by requiring “…the member to certify in writing that the information in the records obtained by the member will not be used by the member for any commercial purpose or for any purpose that does not relate to the association.” The law allows associations to impose a fine for violating that certification, but the damage may already be done if someone sells contact information, for example. In a recent article by ASCO General Counsel Michael Kim and associates, they ask what if a homeowner obtains this list to “…e-blast his/her fellow owners in support of a political candidate who would be ‘good’ (or in opposition to a candidate who would be ‘bad’) for the Association?” In the worst case scenario, what if a disgruntled owner uses the information to harass members with whom he or she disagrees?

However, Section 18.8(f) seems to contradict 19(a)(7). It states, “if any person does not provide written authorization to conduct business using acceptable technological means [which include use of phone and e-mail], the association shall, at its expense, conduct business with the person without the use of acceptable technological means.” This indicates that homeowners are not required by law to provide either email addresses or phone numbers to the association. Why should an individual owner have a right to them as implied in Section 19(a)(7)?

In reality, most of us have already provided our email addresses and phone numbers to our property management companies. Because of that, an ordinance was passed by the City Council on March 28th that established a “Home Rule.” This substitute ordinance overrides the provision in Section 19 that condo associations must provide homeowners’ email addresses and phone numbers to any association member who asks for them. However, if owners in an association want to nullify this ordinance, they may do so with a two-thirds majority vote. It took effect on April 18. If you have any questions about the ordinance, please contact Jerry Goodman at jerry@48thward.org.

ASCO believes HB189 should be repealed or amended to protect homeowners’ personal information and require a signed “proper purpose” statement for obtaining restricted condominium association documents. If you agree, please contact your state representatives. For your convenience, the Edgewater neighborhood representatives are listed below.

IL State Representative Kelly Cassidy (14th District)
repcassidy@gmail.com
5535 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640

IL State Senator Heather Steans (7th District)
steans@senatedem.illinois.gov
5533 N. Broadway