Common elements, like sidewalks, park benches, elevators and streetlights, are shared property that is maintained by an association and used by all residents. The money for these elements comes for the community’s operating reserves, which are funded by all annual assessments. 

But who is responsible for maintaining limited common elements that are only used by one household, like balconies, parking sports and roofs?

It is important for board members, attorneys, and community managers to look to an association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions, for the definition of their limited common elements and who is responsible for upkeep. This is especially important when determining who is responsible for maintaining unseen limited common elements, like wiring and plumbing pipes. 

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On November 6, 2019, a forum will be hosted on condo board best practices. This open discussion will feature panelists - including Haus Financial Services and’s very own, Lauren Peddinghaus - with backgrounds in reserve studies, finance and building maintenance.

All Panelists:

Walden Engineering Consultants - Reserve Studies - Trey Walden

Haus Financial Services, LLC - Finance - Lauren Peddinghaus

Fix-it-People - Property Maintenance - Tom Patton

Hosts include:

Real Living City Residential - Residential Realtor - Neil Hackler

Home Carpet One - Design & Flooring - Shelli Banes

American Family Insurance - Assoc. & Home Insurance - Michael Plageman

Following the panel discussion, there will be an open networking session with hosts, panelists and other condo boards. Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

Learn more and register here.

If an owner’s behavior is affecting others’ ability to enjoy their home, the board is responsible for getting involved and remedying the situation.

First, a board should investigate the complaints being made. Board members should look to their community’s governing documents to determine what rules apply to the situation at hand. They should also look at what action the board is allowed to take in response.

Before taking action, a board should first consider meeting with the misbehaving owner to discuss community living etiquette. During this meeting, the board can explain community rules to the owner, who may just need some guidance. This could help to avoid creating hostility between the board and the owner.

If this fails, the board can take any actions authorized by its governing documents to resolve the conflict.

Read more, here.

An association is not authorized to share, distribute or publish private information to the public relating to its members.

For most states, nonprofit codes will advise what personal contact records an association is required to keep, but this information should never be voluntarily distributed to third parties without member consent.

The risk is that an association cannot control how released contact information will be handled. Third parties could easily use this information to make deals for advertising purposes, to release private ownership information, or to jeopardize the member’s safety.

Member information should always be presented as an opt-in scenario, in which the members can take affirmative steps to share their information, instead of an opt-out in which the information is given by the association, and members have to take steps to remove that information.

To learn more, click here.

Litigation by unit owners against condo associations is fairly common. Regardless of the claims’ merit, boards often find themselves having to expend significant resources to defend against claims or to avoid potential litigation. However, recent case law may help reduce the number of meritless claims that associations have to defend against.

In 1618 Sheridan Rd. Condominium Association v. Marshall Spiegel, a Cook County Circuit judge imposed a $1 million sanction against a lawyer and his client for filing a frivolous lawsuit. This penalty against the owner may help to deter other frivolous lawsuits.

Additionally, in Georgia Peters v. The Royalton Condominium Homes, Inc. the court refused to set a precedent that would require associations to exercise a higher standard to discover defects or dangers on their property. In this case, a member of an association was struck by another member's vehicle in the parking lot. It seemed like a simple personal injury case, until the Plaintiff raised 18 allegations of negligence against the association.

The Plaintiff claimed the association failed to properly address safety concerns in a parking lot. The court found that the Plaintiff “was in the best position to prevent the injury and placing a burden on the defendant to guard against the negligence of others ‘would place an intolerable burden on society.’”

While associations should always act to mitigate any potential safety issues on community property, this decision may help to prevent them from being held to unreasonable standards.

To learn more, click here.


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