Condominium units are in a class all of their own when it comes to Real Estate Taxes.

An individual may contest his or her assessment on his or her own, without the assistance of an attorney. The Cook County Assessor will allow a non-lawyer to file a tax appeal on behalf of another part. However, only a lawyer may represent another party before the county Board of Review or in Court. Since corporations, partnerships, condominium associations, limited liability companies, etc. are legal entities and not people, only attorneys may represent them. Although individual condo unit owners can appeal their taxes, the most effective and recommended method is to file jointly through the Condominium Association. The chance of a successful appeal is enhanced if all of the owners file for an appeal at the same time.

The Association’s Board of Directors has the authority to engage legal services on behalf of all property owners, consistent with the provisions of the Illinois Condominium Association Property Act. Section 10 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act expressly allows a two-third vote of the members of the board to act on behalf of all unit owners to seek relief from or in connection with the assessment of real estate taxes and to charge and collect all expenses incurred as a common expense.

There are three advantages to filing a joint condominium assessment appeal: (1) market forces that affect the value of an individual condominium unit will have a similar effect on the other units as well; (2) the percentage of ownership assigned to each unit is a major valuation factor; and (3) the Association or Board is most likely to have access to relevant sales information.

In a condominium building, a value is placed on the entire property; then value of each individual unit is derived by multiplying an individual unit’s percentage of ownership in the common elements as defined in the recorded Declaration of Condominium by the value of the entire property times the 10% level of assessment for residential properties. The overall value of a condominium building is done by analyzing the sales of units within the subject condominium association for the last three years preceding the year of the current assessment. The recent downturn in condominium prices has created the need to review condominium buildings for review every year not just on triennial reassessments. There still may be tax savings to be achieved until the sales prices of the units sold start outpacing the current assessment on the units.

Because of the recent severe downturn in the real estate market, condo associations now have a viable option they never had before. They can argue the value of the entire association is diminished because units that can’t be sold are being rented.

For further information contact the office of Fisk Kart Katz Regan & Levy at (312) 726-1833.