Stuewe v. Lauletta

418 N.E.2d 138 (1981)

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Stuewe v. Lauletta

Illinois Appellate Court
418 N.E.2d 138 (1981)

Facts

A group of individual condominium unit owners (the challenging unit owners) (plaintiffs) at Les Chateau condominium filed suit against the Laulettas, who were individual condominium-unit purchasers, and Bern Builders, Inc. (Bern), the condominium developer (defendants), to challenge a lease and easement granted by Bern to the Laulettas for a parking space in the common elements. In 1972, when the Laulettas agreed to purchase their unit, Bern promised to provide the Laulettas with two parking spaces inside the garage. When it was discovered that there were no garage spaces available, Bern designated a new space for the Laulettas in the common area outside the garage and in front of the condominium building that had not previously been so designated. Bern told the Laulettas that the condominium declaration would be amended to provide for the new parking space. The developer’s president executed a 99-year lease at the closing with a covenant to record an easement. At the time, Bern and the Laulettas controlled 15 of the condominium’s total 19 units. The declaration required approval from all unit owners before the common elements would be diminished and before there could be any amendment to the declaration provision that had established their undivided interest in the common elements. Another provision applicable to the parking area allowed amendment upon the approval of three-fourths of the ownership with proper notice to all owners. There was no proper amendment under either provision, nor was the easement ever recorded. When the association took over management of the condominium, it offered the Laulettas a parking space at the rear of the building, which the Laulettas refused. The trial court found for the Laulettas, noting that Bern made leases and operated the condominium as the developer before the association was created and that it would be inequitable to deprive the Laulettas of their contracted parking spaces. The challenging unit owners appealed and argued that (1) the Laulettas had attempted to purchase or lease a parking space from Bern that Bern had no right to control; and (2) the attempted amendment to the declaration was ineffective, and the disputed parking space remained part of the common area.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilson, J.)

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