This question is submitted by John R, out of Chicago, IL
My spouse and I have lived in a vintage Chicago condominium since 1999. I was a board member until 2019. The unit above ours was renovated illegally in 2016 to be flipped, and the board failed to agree with me to stop the renovation. The construction involved the significant reconfiguration of common elements and replacement of flooring; we are not certain, but we believe the entire apartment flooring was replaced with laminate with no sublayer (e.g., soundproofing); the unit finally sold in 2018, and the current unit owner took my position on the board in 2019. Soon after the current owner bought the unit, in early 2019, we had ceiling water damage which, while it turned out to be a common element issue, caused significant animosity with the owner over statements made, which she later misrepresented, breaking down our trust. In the meantime, we learned to live with a more active upstairs neighbor and the resulting noise; given that the other water damage situation took almost three years to resolve, and because the neighbor started complaining about noise from us, we kept silent on the noise that was impacting us to try to calm the situation; we were however concerned that she was now on the board. Her continued complaints eventually led to a hearing (during the lockdown when we were both required to work from home), in which we stated out the case, that we too had impact noise complaints and objected to her banging on the floor as away to let us know her displeasure. We first requested the owner involved voluntarily recuse herself from participating in boards review;she refused as did the board president who refused to request this on our behalf.
We explained what we had already taken reasonable measures to address the complaint;and as happens in many situations like this, the board told us both to be civil, respectful and no penalty was involved. We've avoided the other owner as much as possible since.
In the meantime, this owner spearheaded getting the board to adopt new rules with higher fines. They are still on the board and they are now resuming complaints of disruptive noise against us.
The unit was recently listed online so we have photos of skimpy floor covering in the unit, which we brought up during the first hearing, and this time we plan to file a counter-complaint which will likely lead to a second hearing.
I have two questions, can in Illinois, an owner be required by statute or legally by association policy to have a minimum amount of surface coverage to avoid not only impact noise to others but reduce ambient noise from the unit below?
Is the owner's role as a board member in dispute with another owner considered a conflict of interest, and are they any recourse for us in getting them to either recuse themselves or to request their removal from the board?
Any advice is appreciated.
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