Salvatore v. Gelburd

565 N.E. 2d 204 (1990)

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Salvatore v. Gelburd

Illinois Appellate Court
565 N.E. 2d 204 (1990)

Facts

Kenneth Salvatore (plaintiff) owned one of three condominium units in the 1950 North Howe, Chicago, Illinois, condominium complex. Michael and Marilyn Gelburd (defendants) owned the adjoining unit. The Gelburds built a storage shed on the roof of their unit and installed a wooden railing and stairway so they could use the shed’s roof as a sun deck. Salvatore complained that chairs and a table placed on the shed’s roof caused loud noises when the wind blew them about. The Gelburds agreed to remove the railing and furniture and stopped using the shed roof as a deck. The condominium association (the association) then voted to ratify the shed’s construction if the Gelburds also removed the stairway, which they did. The association acknowledged the Gelburds’ compliance with its requirements for ratification. Salvatore filed suit and argued that the shed was a prohibited alteration that the board lacked authority to ratify. The condominium’s declaration identified a roof as a common element, and a specific provision provided that “no additions, alterations or improvements shall be made by a Unit Owner to any part of the Common Elements and no additions, alterations or improvements shall be made by a Unit Owner to his Unit . . . without prior written consent of the Board,” and that if a unit owner made an addition, alteration, or improvement without the board’s prior written consent, the board could ratify the action or condition ratification on requirements that it would impose to give its written consent. Other provisions of the declaration referred to the board’s authority and responsibility to administer the property and to foster the cooperative aspects of condominium ownership. For example, the board had authority over the common elements to consent to obstructions or storage otherwise prohibited in the common elements. Salvatore argued that the declaration language should be interpreted according to strict grammar rules that would allow board ratification only of a unit owner’s addition, alteration, or improvement to the unit owner’s individual unit—not to any common area. The Gelburds argued that, read as a whole, the condominium declaration provisions gave the board authority to administer the property and that included the authority to ratify their shed. The trial court ruled for the Gelburds, and Salvatore appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jiganti, J.)

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