Can my homeowners association change the lock on my condo unit even though I own the door?

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Can my homeowners association change the lock on my condo unit even though I own the door?

My condo has been vacant for the past year. A previous tenant broke into the unit with a key and the police were called. My homeowners association changed the lock and never notified me of the break in and lock change. They now say I’m responsible for the bill (which is exorbitantly high) even though the new lock wasn’t installed properly and I was never notified of the incident and lock change. Can my HOA legally change my lock in the event of an emergency even though I own the door and I was never notified?

Asked on March 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your homeowners' association has every right to protect the property and common areas from further harm. In this situation, the HOA called the police and changed the locks but it should have contacted you and given you the key. Now as to the bill, that is a different question. If the bill is merely for the lock, it is perfectly reasonable to charge you the cost of changing the lock and a nominal fee if they had to bring someone in to do it. If it was installed improperly, you may wish to talk to the installer about a discount. If the HOA did not install properly itself, then it needs to discount a fee as well. Now, the best thing to do before approaching anyone is to review your bylaws and see if there is a provision regarding it inside.


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