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Eric Anderson, Other/Just Looking in River Forest, IL

What does undivided percentage interest in the common elements mean?

Asked by Eric Anderson, River Forest, IL Wed Jan 23, 2008

Another condo owner in our building has taken it to mean he can do whatever he wants with his parking space, including bolting a ladder to the floor between our cars...

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Deborah Madey’s answer
Oh, Eric, please don't take this the wrong way. I almost sort of laughed for a minute, because it sounds so absurd. But, no, I don't think it is funny for you. This would seem to be a challenging situation for you.

Have you contacted your association management? What do they say?

The permitted uses will depend upon the by-laws, rules and regs of your association. Hopefully, there is cooperation and respect for the rules. If not, the only recourse is a remedy through the legal system.

I might suspect that such use would not be permitted, but it really doesn't matter what I might expect. It matters what the rules are, and if this person is breaking the rules, and next, what support the association provides if there is a violation.

Good Luck and I do empathize with you.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
An undivided interest is a fractional ownership without physical division. In other words, the common elements are those items outside the individual unit/s. Land, hallways, lobby, exterior walls, roof, and pipes in the walls are all examples of common elements. You cannot divide the hallway or lobby or land and say "This part is mine, keep off."
Your board needs to contact an attorney familiar with condominium issues. This owner may be violating your board's rules, regulations, and by-laws. It is possible he could be fined for his actions and if he fails to pay up a lien is placed on his unit and ultimately foreclosed. That's right, foreclose on him and force him out of the building.
Your board must take action, failing to do so could place the board in jeopardy for failing to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 25, 2008
If it was "make believe" in a comedy movie, it would be funny. Since it is happening to you, it's not. So, please don't take offense when I say I was half-heartedly laughing. I sincerely do no mean any offense to you. I am only taken aback becaue it does sound so.....well, absurd.

Does your association have legal counsel? Can your wife, as president, call them? You have probably already explored this avenue.

Other than suggest that you explore your remedies through the legal system, there isn't any other suggestion I have. Sorry, I don't seem to be any help. I concurrently shed a smile and a tear for you.

Best of luck........let us know what happens.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
I agree, it's incredibly absurd. Prior to this, he attempted to build a wall in the middle of the garage in order to hang his ladders. The problems were: a) he didn't get any permits; b) he didn't get the approval of the other owners; c) his wall effectively prevented two other owners from accessing their cars. My wife, acting as president of the association, called the police on him to get him to stop, and ever since, his primary agenda has been to cause as much trouble as possible.

When we told him that the other tenants had unanimously agreed that he'd created an unsafe situation in the garage, he responded by attaching a page from his closing statement with the term described in my original question, along with a letter saying that we're all ignorant of what he can and can't do with his "deeded space" and that he'll pursue all "legal and criminal avenues" to fight our decision.

I'm reminded of the following quote from "The Princess Bride":

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2008
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