Condo Advisor: New Ordinance Requires Establishment of 'Cooling Spaces' in High-Rise Residential Buildings

Q. What does the new city refrigeration ordinance do?

A. On June 22, 2022, the City of Chicago adopted a new ordinance commonly known as the “Cooling Ordinance.” The cooling ordinance modifies the cooling requirements for high-rise residential buildings, including apartment, condominium and community associations, as well as residential cooperatives in Chicago that are over 80 feet tall or have more than 100 dwelling units. The chilling ordinance was adopted on the heels of a May heat wave that killed three residents of a Chicago senior center.

Applicable residential buildings must maintain “at least” one indoor common area “cooling space” that is accessible to all residents when the heat index exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the “cooling and dehumidifying system is not available in each housing unit”. The cooling space must have “cooling and dehumidifying equipment capable of maintaining a room temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% relative humidity” (i.e., air conditioning) when the outside temperature is 92 degrees Fahrenheit and the bulb temperature average coincident humid is 74 degrees. Fahrenheit. The ordinance requires the installation of temporary cooling space equipment by July 1 and permanent equipment by May 1, 2024.

Q. It is widely understood that the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act requires condominium associations 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 board restrict emotional support animals to certain areas of the commons 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 to allow people with mental disabilities to have an emotional support animal in their unit, even in a building with no pets. At the same time, however, case law holds that while reasonable accommodations are required, some accommodations may not be reasonable in the circumstances, and some may not be necessary for the laudable purpose of listing. 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 homeowners and the condominium association must be balanced against the benefits to the applicant.

By granting an accommodation to allow an emotional support animal in a unit, condominium boards have some latitude to set reasonable guidelines that balance the serious allergies of an individual resident. It 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. Reconstruction of the units is estimated to take 12 months or more. Owners of the affected units have asked if they can withhold monthly assessments of their units until they are rebuilt, however that will result in a budget shortfall for the association. Do unit owners whose units were destroyed by fire have the right to withhold their monthly dues until the units are rebuilt?

A. Section 9(a) of the Condominium Law requires all unit owners to pay their proportionate share of common expenses. In fact, section 18(o) of the Condominium Law prohibits a condominium board from suspending a unit owner’s payment of dues, which means a board cannot simply cancel or reduce the owner’s assessment obligation. of a unit.

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

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