Developer turnover is the process by which unit owners assume control of the condominium association from the developer of the property. It is important to understand however that the turnover process has a number of steps, each of which must take place within a time frame specified by the Illinois Condominium Property Act. As an initial matter, the process must begin when either three-fourths of the units are sold, or three years after the declaration is recorded, whichever is earlier.
The turnover process typically runs quite smoothly as most developers are competent, cooperative, and have delivered quality construction. When turnover is completed, the unit owners have elected the first independent board, established a realistic budget and assessments for the condominium, and adopted rules and regulations for the association.
However, with the tremendous growth of condominiums in Chicago in recent years, more and more associations are frustrated by the failure of certain developers to comply with their turnover obligations such as the timely delivery of certain condominium records and information. In other instances, the developer is cooperative in the process, but simply cannot provide a clear accounting of the association's past receipts and expenditures. In this scenario, the unit owners are often left with a financial mess. An even more common issue facing new associations is the existence of construction defect claims against the inexperienced developer.