Pets are a major topic for many condominium communities. Some associations establish Rules & Regulations that restrict or prohibit certain pets, such as dogs, altogether. Pets may be considered family members by some condo owners, but there is no doubt that they can create a lot of conflict in condominium buildings. 

Pets can cause damage to common elements if they get loose, are not properly supervised or if owners simply do not clean up after them. If there are multiple pet owners in your building it can be difficult to identify the culprits, especially in small buildings that do not have the property under video surveillance. While Rules & Regulations may exist that require pet owners to clean up after their pets or be subject to fines, it can be difficult to enforce those Rules when you can't determine who to fine. 

A better option for small buildings is to charge a monthly or annual Pet Fee. Your building might implement Rules to limit the number of pets per unit, for example, and charge an annual $100/pet fee. These fees can then be used to offset the extra maintenance that may be required when pets are present is partnering with Countryside Bank this summer to bring a series of seminars to Chicago condo owners that are geared toward the unique challenges that small condominiums face.

The "Condo Therapy: Small Condo Challenges Seminar Series" will take place monthly from June to August 2018. Topics include bank loans, addressing delinquencies and amending your Declaration or Bylaws.

The first seminar, "Bank Loans for Small Condo Buildings (Financing Major Projects)" will take place on Thursday, June 21, 2018 in Lakeview. For details and to register, please see our Events Calendar.


Many small associations do not have regular annual elections as required by the IL Condo Act. Often, the same individuals end up serving on the board year after year. But having an annual election to educate owners and encourage them to get involved is always a good idea. Board members risk getting burnt out if they do not create an opportunity for other owners to take over.

If you are due for an election and need some guidance in how to prepare, Preparing for Your Condominium Association Election can help you to get started.  

Board members can also share our video on Board Responsibilities Made Easy to help owners understand the responsibilities of board members and election basics as well as the matters that the board handles versus those that owners have a right to vote on.

Association board members often disagree, but conflict can interfere with a board’s ability to function effectively. Conflicts should never be allowed to get to the point where they stop critical decision making, adversely affect building systems or an owner’s property values. 

Techniques to encourage a positive, productive board environment include:

  1. Establishing specific goals, timetables, and priorities
  2. Preventing discussions from becoming personal
  3. Distributing accurate information to all board members and unit owners
  4. Setting up fact-finding committees to obtain information
  5. Using independent experts to provide technical information

To learn more about these techniques and about managing conflict, click here.

The Common Interest Community Association Act and the Condominium Property Act were recently amended in 2017 to provide that the board may close any portion of a meeting for which notice was given or meet separately from the board meeting to:

  1. Discuss probable or pending litigation
  2. Discuss third-party contracts or information regarding appointment, engagement, or dismissal of an employee, independent contractor, agent, or other providers of goods and services
  3. Interview a potential employee, independent contractor, agent or other providers of goods and services
  4. Discuss violations of the rules and regulations of the association
  5. Discuss a member’s or unit owner’s unpaid share of common expenses
  6. Consult with the association’s legal counsel

Of note here is that the board can meet for discussion, provided no votes are taken, to discuss matters outside of any formal meeting. It's advised that the board handle such discussions in person rather than over email in order to prevent a written record of the discussion. 

To learn more, click here.

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