Illinois Real Estate Law Blog

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is a Common Interest Community?

Most people know what a condominium is.  You may even know what a co-op is.  But do you know what a common interest community association is?

Last year, the Illinois legislature passed the Common Interest Community Association Act.   The act defines a "common interest community” as follows:  Real estate other than a condominium or cooperative with respect to which any person by virtue of his or her ownership of a partial interest or a unit therein is obligated to pay for the maintenance, improvement, insurance premiums or real estate taxes of common areas described in a declaration which is administered by an association. "Common interest community" may include, but not be limited to, an attached or detached townhome, villa, or single-family home, or master association.

What does this mean in plain English?  It means that if you live in a subdivision or neighborood where there is some common area managed or administered by a common group, such as an association, then you are in a common interest community.  Usually this means that you are paying some sort of fee (whether monthly, quarterly, or annually) for the maintenance of the common area.  Some large neighborhoods have only a common retention pond, for example, and every homeowner pays just a few bucks every year to maintain it.  Regardless, that makes the neighborhood part of a common interest community association.

If you are buying or selling a home in such a neighborhood, make sure you review the Common Interest Community Association Act to learn what obligations and rights you have, and what disclosure requirements are applicable.  If you are buying a foreclosed home in a common interest community association, you should be particularly careful, as you could end up liable for past due assessments and other fees.

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