Illinois HOA Laws

Illinois HOA Laws

Last Updated: June 15, 2023 by Corrin Swintosky

Homeowners associations (HOAs) manage many planned communities in Illinois. Various local, state, and federal regulations as well as governing documents oversee HOAs in Illinois.

Who Regulates HOAs in Illinois?

In Illinois, HOAs are regulated by Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act found in Chapter 765, Act 160 in the Illinois Statute. This act applies to all associations other than condos that contain members who contribute to common elements regulated by governing documents.

Every HOA has its own governing documents. These documents typically include: Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, and other rules and regulations.

HOAs in Illinois may also be subject to applicable federal laws such as:

HOAs may also be subject to certain state laws such as:

How to Find HOA Regulations in Illinois

HOA governing documents are not public records in Illinois. Only members or unit owners of the HOA may request to view the governing documents.

Some information can be found on the Illinois Secretary of State Corporation/LLC Search webpage such as the type of business, duration, and officers of the HOA.

Additionally, reports and forms filed with the Illinois Secretary of State are public. These records can be requested by email, fax, or online for a fee.

HOA Powers in Illinois

In Illinois, an HOA has the power to:

  • Regulate common areas
  • Collect charges to maintain and operate the common areas
  • Levy reasonable fines
  • Foreclose on homes for unpaid lien

Moreover, an HOA’s governing documents can grant added powers such as restrictions on membership, parking, fencing, and exterior paint colors.

Can an HOA Impose Fines on a Homeowner in Illinois?

In Illinois, an HOA can impose fines on a homeowner for violating its rules. Before fines can be imposed, the HOA must give the homeowner a notice and an opportunity to be heard. Specific fee types and amounts are determined by the HOA governing documents.

An HOA cannot fine a homeowner for (or generally prohibit) any of the following:

  • Displaying the American flag or military flag so long as the flag is displayed in a manner consistent with federal flag display law
  • Installing a flagpole to display the American flag or military flag
  • Installing satellite dishes and antennas
  • Attaching religious objects to the front door of the unit
  • Accommodating religious practices

An HOA’s governing documents may include reasonable regulations and rules about the placement, manner, and display of any of the items listed above.

Can an HOA Take a Homeowner’s House in Illinois?

HOAs that manage condos can take a homeowner’s house. These HOAs have the power to place a lien on a property when the owner neglects to pay their dues. If a lien goes unresolved, the HOA can foreclose on the house.

All other HOA powers about foreclosure can be found in the governing documents.

An HOA can evict a homeowner due to late payment of charges,  assessments, and other fees imposed by the HOA. HOAs are also allowed to evict tenants for similar grounds as a homeowner. Tenants and owners must receive a notice of demand before bringing an eviction lawsuit to either party.

Every HOA business type has the same procedures in regard to eviction proceedings. Additionally, provisions may be added to the governing documents.

Can an HOA Enter a Homeowner’s Property in Illinois?

In Illinois, there is no provision in the law that allows an HOA to enter a homeowner’s property. However, most governing documents contain a provision allowing an HOA to enter one’s home as reasonably necessary to maintain units, common elements, or shared utilities.

Units are the spaces in and around the house that are collectively owned by the HOA, such as balconies. Shared utilities may include water or sewage that are provided directly through the HOA.

Except in the case of an emergency, the HOA must generally give prior notice before entering the property. Typically, an HOA will give 1-2 weeks’ notice, but notice requirements are determined by the governing documents.

Where Do Homeowners File Complaints Against Their HOA in Illinois?

The venue for filing a complaint against an HOA in Illinois depends on the complaint.

For complaints concerning HOA fees, a homeowner can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, homeowners may also file in state or federal court within one year of the violation date.

If a homeowner feels they are a victim of housing discrimination, they can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the U.S. Department of Urban Housing, or file a private lawsuit in Illinois state or federal court.

Otherwise, a homeowner with any other complaints can bring a claim in state court in the appropriate county.

Joining and Leaving an HOA in Illinois

In Illinois, there is no statutory provision about joining and leaving an HOA. The relationship between homeowners and the HOA as well as membership rules are determined by the HOA governing documents. These documents should be presented at the closing for a new owner’s home purchase.

There are two types of HOAs that influence joining and leaving clauses in the governing documents:

  • Mandatory HOAs. When a person buys a home, they automatically become a member required to abide by any HOA rules listed in the governing documents. This usually includes that a homeowner is not able to leave the HOA freely.
  • Voluntary HOAs. When a person buys a home, membership is a choice for each homeowner. If they choose to become a member, they may leave at any time by stopping their payments with the HOA.

To leave a mandatory HOA, a homeowner can sell their house or try to petition the HOA to have their home removed. However, there is no guarantee the petition will be granted.

How to Dissolve an HOA in Illinois

The process for dissolution of an HOA in Illinois may be set forth in the HOA’s governing documents. If it is not, the board of directors must propose a dissolution to members at a meeting.

A vote by members at the meeting needs to be at least ⅔ in support of dissolution. Then, a plan for dissolution handling assets and liabilities must be drafted by the board of directors and approved by at least ⅔ of the HOA members.

Once the dissolution has been authorized, an Articles of Dissolution must be filed with the Illinois Secretary of State. Upon filing, the HOA is considered dissolved.