Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed March 20, 2014

 

 

 

 

Spanish Court Two Condominium Ass=n v. Carlson, 2013 IL 115342

 

 

Appellate citation: 2012 IL App (2d) 110473.

 

 

      JUSTICE THEIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Chief Justice Garman and Justices Thomas and Karmeier concurred in the judgment and opinion.

      Justice Freeman dissented, with opinion, joined by Justices Kilbride and Burke.

 

In Highland Park, defendant Lisa Carlson owned a residential unit in the Spanish Court Two Condominium, whose condominium association is the plaintiff here. In the circuit court of Lake County, it filed an action under the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, claiming that Carlson had failed to pay her monthly assessments and seeking possession of the premises as well as payment of those assessments. Carlson had indeed stopped paying monthly assessments in 2009, and admitted as much, but raised affirmative defenses, claiming that plaintiff association had breached its covenant to maintain and repair the common areas by failing to maintain the roof and brickwork above her unit, causing water leakage and damage to her premises. She also counterclaimed for her damage. The trial court held that these affirmative defenses were not, as required by statute, Agermane@ to the action for forcible entry and detainer and struck them, while severing the damage counterclaim and reassigning it to a different division of the circuit court. The final judgment in the cause at issue here awarded possession to the plaintiff as well as all sums due, and Carlson appealed. The appellate court approved of severing the damage claim but reinstated the affirmative defenses which were based on failure to maintain and repair the common elements. This latter result was reversed by the Illinois Supreme Court in this decision.

In Illinois, forcible entry and detainer actions apply to condominiums as well as to landlord and tenant situations, and both the Forcible Entry and Detainer Act and the Condominium Act are involved here. The former statute is intended to provide for a summary proceeding, and limits the defenses and claims that may be raised, stating that “no matters not germane to the distinctive purpose of the proceedings shall be introduced.” In this case, Carlson alleged that Spanish Court Two had breached the obligations of the condominium declaration by failing to maintain the common elements and that this excused or “nullified” her obligation to pay the assessments. In this decision, the Illinois Supreme Court disagreed with her, stating that the duty to pay assessments was absolute and independent of the duty to repair and maintain.

The supreme court said that, although Carlson may have other means of recourse in the courts, defeating the forcible entry and detainer action by the means she asserted here was not one of them. The circuit court was affirmed.