Q&A: Renter's Rights

Q I am on the board in a condo community. We currently have a renter that was sneaked in by the owner. What is the proper way of addressing this? What is the proper way to remove the renter and can there be fines made to the owner?

—Illegal Sublet

A “The answer may depend in part on what type of provision of the governing documents is violated, and what this association is looking to achieve,” says attorney James A. Slowikowski of the law firm Dickler Kahn Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd. in Arlington Heights. “Is it just a failure to provide a copy of the lease? Or, it sounds here like leasing of units may be prohibited, and they want the improper tenant removed. The association may be able to assess fines, if there are violations of the governing documents and if any adopted rules provide for the levy of a fine upon finding a violation. In any event, Section 9.2(a) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that if any unit owner or tenant is in default of any obligations under the Act, the declaration, the bylaws, or any rules and regulations, the association may maintain an action for possession of the unit (an eviction suit) to obtain possession in order to remove the tenant. This in effect terminates the lease and requires removal of the tenant, by eviction if needed. There is a special ten-day notice that the law requires be sent prior to filing this type of action, and the association board should speak with their legal counsel because of these technical requirements. Alternatively, the association could file an injunction lawsuit to enforce its governing documents. This is a suit that seeks a court order that will require the owner and tenant to comply with the provisions of the governing documents that are being violated. This relief could include removal of the tenant, depending what is being violated. In any legal action to enforce the governing documents, the association is entitled to recover the attorney’s fees and legal expenses it incurs to enforce the governing documents.”

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