Q & A: Confidentially Speaking...

Q Is there a rule or law that says the condo owners cannot have a list of phone numbers of the unit dwellers in the building for those who may want one....the manager would have the complete information for anyone who is interested...may the manager share it or not?

—Keeping Things Private

A “Periodically, owners in a condominium complex seek contact information for their fellow owners. The reason for such a request varies, some people want to obtain contact information to inform owners of an issue in the association that they feel strongly about, some want disseminate their own candidate information before an election, and some want the contact information to address an owner directly over a certain issue,” says David Hartwell, an attorney and managing partner at Penland & Hartwell, LLC, a community association law firm based in Chicago. “Whatever the reason is, the dissemination of such information is controlled by Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act (“Act”).

“Specifically, Section 19(a)(7) requires that the board of managers maintain a current listing of the names, addresses, and weighted vote of all members. Section 19(e) requires the association to make that information available upon receipt of a written request by an owner as long as a proper purpose for requesting such information accompanies the request. Although the Act does not designate what would be deemed a “proper purpose,” most courts would construe the requirement broadly and likely deem most reasons to be proper.

“Notably, Section 19(a)(7) does not require an association to maintain a list of owners phone numbers. Accordingly, such information would not be required to be disclosed to a requesting owner, even if the association possessed such information. An owner does have the ability to obtain a fellow unit owner’s phone number through other sources such as directory assistance, as long as the owner has not unlisted or unpublished the number.

“In my experience, unit owners often times become upset if a property manager or board member disseminates their phone numbers to other owners. Neighboring owners typically do not want to share information which they deem to be personal, such as their phone number. Therefore, as a general rule, owner phone numbers should not be disclosed to other owners.