Condo living is complicated and challenging at times. Underlying many of the common problems that condo owners experience, however, is a simple lack of knowledge about condo law and how condos function.

Condo board members are volunteers whose only qualification is that they are a deeded owner of a condo unit. There is no required level of education or experience to serve on the board. As a result, many associations struggle to find board members who can effectively and confidently fulfill their duties.  

As you prepare for 2019, consider including an expense line item in your budget to cover training and education for board members. It's unreasonable to expect your fellow owners to be experts in managing the association and maintaining the property simply because they've been elected. Board members need regular education and support in order to perform their duties and they deserve the support of the entire association in doing so. The end result benefits everyone.

A membership to ChicagoCondoResource.com is only $29/year. Members can access resources and post questions to our Ask the Expert blog for general information on a number of topics (without needing to turn to an attorney).

CAI and ACTHA are two organizations that regularly provide education and training to condo owners and board members. CAI offers board member training in person and online with its Dedicated Community Association Leader program. These are great options for helping your board perform well for your association. 

An investment in board education protects your investment in your property. Make some room in your 2019 budget to support the board members who volunteer their time and energy on your behalf.

The Illinois Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson Act, effective January 1, 2017, requires that all condominium associations and non-exempt common interest community associations adopt a written Complaint Policy by January 1, 2019.

The Complaint Policy is intended to address owner grievances against the board, not against fellow owners, for matters not currently involved in litigation. 

Boards can formally adopt the required policy using guidelines and templates provided by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. 

Adopting a Complaint Procedure is fairly simple and will guide your board in handling owner complaints consistently and in compliance with Illinois law.

Occasionally, a struggling condominium association will mention receivership and wonder if it is an effective solution to their chronic condo woes.

Receivership is when a property manager is ordered by a court to manage a dysfunctional condominium association. The administration and maintenance of the building is handed over to the manager, who is given the power to make all decisions for the building. The idea of giving up the responsibilities of running your association may seem attractive, but there are a number of reasons why receivership may not be right for your building.

  1. Receivership is expensive. The owners will need to take legal action to pursue receivership in court. If a receiver is appointed, the owners will have to pay the receiver as well as bear the burden of all of the building's expenses. This will increase the financial burden on the owners rather than alleviate it.
  2. You must prove your inability to manage your own building. A judge must be convinced that receivership is the only option, and that all efforts by the owners to manage themselves have failed. Apathy or a lack of involvement by owners is not a compelling reason for a judge to order a receiver.
  3. Owners give up control. Owners will no longer have the right to make any decisions about their own property. The loss of control in addition to increased expenses for receivership will likely lead mean a less desirable living experience, rather than an improved one. Just because someone else has the responsibility to make decisions doesn't mean you'll be happy with what they decide.
  4. Receivership has no time limit. The receiver will remain until the court is satisfied that the problems in the building have been fixed. There is no set timeline for how long a receiver has to fix what is broken.

Receivership should be considered a last resort. If you truly feel that you have no other option, you should consult a qualified condo law attorney for assistance.

Condo owners are often unaware of how insurance coverage works in the case of damage to a unit. Your association's insurance policy covers the building's Common Elements. It does not cover all of the contents of your unit. Every condo owner should carry their own insurance policy that covers their own personal property and other parts of their unit that are not covered by the association's policy. 

Unit Owner's Property Insurance Should Include:

  • Floor covering, wall, and ceiling coverings
  • Additions, Alterations, Improvements, and Betterments

Important Points to Consider:

  • Although the association policy includes coverage for water damage to the building, it does not cover water damage to your personal property.
  • "Mandatory Unit Owner Coverage" as defined by the Illinois Property Condominium Act: The board of directors may require condominium unit owners to obtain insurance covering their personal liability and compensatory damages to another unit caused by the negligence of the owner or his/her guests, residents, or invitees, or regardless of any negligence origination from the unit. 

Other Considerations for your Condo Policy Include:

  • Coverage for back up of sewer and drains
  • A "Special Coverage Form" for Improvements and Betterments and Personal Property
  • Extended Replacement Coverage for Improvements and Betterments 

To learn more, click here.

 

 

Recycling can get confusing. What is recyclable? What isn't recyclable? Will the City charge me to pick-up my unwanted furniture? We have your answers. 

Recycle These:

1. Cartons

2. Glass Bottles and Jars

3. Metal Cans and Foil

4. Paper and Cardboard 

5. Plastic Containers

Keep These Out:

1. Garbage

2. Plastic bags or Wrap

3. Food and Liquids

4. Scrap Metal

5. Tanglers (cords, cables) 

Items Picked up by the City, Free of Charge:

1. Leaves and Yard Clippings

2. Yard Waste

3. Furniture

4. Major Non-Working Appliances

5. Old Mattresses

To learn more about recycling in Chicago, click here.

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