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New City Ordinance Requires Cooling Spaces

Q. What does the new city cooling ordinance do?

A. On June 22, 2022, the City of Chicago passed a new ordinance commonly referred to as the “Cooling Ordinance”. The Cooling Ordinance changes the cooling requirements for high-rise residential buildings, including apartments, condominiums, and community associations as well as Chicago residential co-ops that are taller than 80 feet or have more than 100 units. The cooling ordinance was passed following a heat wave in May that killed three residents of a Chicago seniors’ residence.

Affected residential buildings must maintain “at least” one common indoor “cooling space” accessible to all residents when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the “cooling and dehumidification system is not available in each lodging “. The cooling space must have “cooling and dehumidification equipment capable of maintaining an ambient temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% relative humidity” (c. Fahrenheit. The ordinance requires the installation of temporary equipment to cooling space by July 1 and permanent equipment by May 1, 2024.

Q. It is widely understood that the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act requires condominium corporations to reasonably accommodate mental disabilities by allowing an emotional support animal to be kept in a unit to ameliorate a resident’s disability. However, can the council limit emotional support animals to certain areas of the common elements to accommodate residents who have severe allergies to cats and dogs?

A. There is well-established case law interpreting the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act that allows people with intellectual disabilities to keep an emotional support animal in their unit, even in a building without animals. However, at the same time, the case law holds that even if reasonable accommodations are necessary, some accommodations may not be reasonable in the circumstances, and some may not be necessary for the laudable goal of inclusion. The doctrine of reasonable accommodation does not require that everything humanly possible be done to accommodate a person with a disability when there are adverse consequences for other residents. The cost to other owners and the condominium association must be weighed against the benefits to the individual plaintiff.

When granting accommodation to allow an emotional support animal into a unit, condo boards have some latitude to establish reasonable guidelines that balance an individual resident’s severe allergies. This is a case-by-case analysis and solution.

Q. I own a condominium and several units in our association were recently destroyed in a fire. It is estimated that rebuilding the units will take 12 months or more. Affected unit owners have asked if they can withhold their unit’s monthly appraisals until their units are rebuilt, but this will result in a shortfall for the association. Do unit owners whose units have been destroyed by fire have the right to withhold their monthly appraisals until the units are rebuilt?

A. Section 9(a) of the Condominium Act requires all unit owners to pay their proportionate share of common expenses. In fact, section 18(o) of the Condominium Act prohibits a condominium board from withholding assessments by a unit owner, which means that a board cannot simply strike off or reduce a unit owner’s assessment requirement.

Dues are calculated based on the proportional share of a unit’s budget. The budget is the estimate of the costs of administering the common elements of the association, including maintenance, repair and replacement, security of the common elements, payment of insurance premiums, etc. All units must pay their assessment obligation in full, even if a unit has been destroyed by fire.

Do you have a question for the Condo Advisor? E-mail ctc-realestate@chicagotribune.com.

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Post expires at 9:34pm on Thursday August 18th, 2022