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Condo foreclosure a unique legal challenge

The Chicago area may not have the snowbird attraction of cities in the Sunbelt. Places like Arizona, Texas or Florida draw folks away during the winter months. Condominiums, rather than detached single-family homes, tend to be the abode of choice for those flocking south.

That doesn't mean we are without such accommodations. All you have to do is take a stroll down Lake Shore Drive to appreciate that condos are as much a way of life in the Windy City as anywhere. There are many reasons. Condo living can be more cost effective for those on modest budgets. But they also come with added fees that can make foreclosure a particular challenge.

As the Chicago Tribune observed in an article earlier this year, there have been some recent rulings from the Illinois Supreme Court that directly affect condominium owners and their associations. In one, the high court determined that there can be times when a buyer of a foreclosed condominium can be held responsible for any of the community fees that went unpaid by the previous owner.

The financial structures under which condominium sales are handled can also raise questions that linger about what liens apply to what parties long after a foreclosure appears to be over and done with. In some ways, tracing the line of accountability can be a little bit like trying to answer the query, "Who's on first?"

The read on the current real estate market in Chicago is that things are definitely looking better. But that industry spin slows a bit when compared with national averages.

How that translates into real numbers that affect individuals is what really matters. In that respect, averages on condo foreclosures mean little. No two cases are alike. Finding the right solution for each person's need is something that is best handled through one-to-one consultation with experienced legal counsel.

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