A 94-year-old woman recently lost a legal battle when she fought for her right to rent a condominium while she underwent medical treatments, despite the association’s rules. The association denied the request because she did not follow the rule that requires listing the unit for sale for a full year before choosing to lease. 

The woman argued that the rehab was necessary due to a disability, and that she was entitled to reasonable accommodation under federal fair housing laws protecting individuals with disabilities. The judge's opinion was that the woman failed to show that the accommodation was necessary as a result of her disability rather than her financial situation. The association would have denied a similar request from someone who had to be away from their condo for other reasons.

To read more click here.

A condominium association board cannot prevent community tenants from keeping firearms on the grounds or in their homes. Trying to do so would overstep the board’s authority. The Supreme Court sees the right to keep a gun in a tenant’s home for reasons of self-defense as a fundamental right. Additionally, an association cannot put restrictions on any firearm that a tenant possesses, such as requiring it to be unloaded or specifying certain types of firearms that are allowed. However, carrying guns in a common area is more complicated and restrictions exist in these areas because they are not considered the tenants home.

To read more click here. 

It is not uncommon for a management company to charge their own fees on the ledgers of a delinquent condo owner's account when collecting unpaid assessments. Courts are now reviewing account ledgers with scrutiny so it is important for associations to be aware of the legal requirements for collecting management-imposed fees on a delinquent account.

Both the Illinois Condominium Property Act and the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act provide three requirements that must be met before a fee can be added to a delinquent owner’s account. The three requirements are:

1.      1. The managing agent fees relate to the costs to collect common expenses for the association

2.     2.  The fees are set forth in a contract between the managing agent and the association

3.      3. The authority to add the management fees to an owner’s respective share of the common expenses is specifically stated in the declaration or bylaws of the association

To read more, click here.

As of 2015, changes to the Illinois Condominium Property Act and the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act allow associations to adopt electronic notice and electronic voting. This modernization of associations requires that the board pass Rules & Regulations to add these changes, but they do not need to be made in an association’s bylaws.

Once an association has created Rules & Regulations to allow for electronic noticing and online voting, the board can then take advantage of technology to send notices to owners and conduct association votes online for owners that have not opted out.

To learn more details and requirements, see this article from condo law attorney James Stevens of Chuhak and Tecson.

Learn how to properly adopt Rules & Regulations for your condo association with Chicago Condo Resource's "Creating Rules & Regulations Made Easy" videos. (Available to Subscribers only.)

Email has become one of the most common forms of communication in business. It is so ingrained in our everyday lives that we rarely consider the implications of email communication. However, emails can be tricky for condo boards in several ways. First, emails can be saved, stored and forwarded. Once something is emailed, it cannot be taken back and the message can live on forever. Second, unlike in person or telephone communication, it is difficult to gauge a person’s tone or intention from written communication. An email can easily be read in a way that it was not intended to be when it was written.

For these reasons, board members should limit discussion on specific matters to executive sessions where they can legally talk in person and off the record. These matters include:

  1. Litigation
  2. Hiring/firing employees
  3. Rule violations
  4. Unit owner’s unpaid assessments

If email must be used for an association-related reason, email communication with the association attorney should be avoided from a work email address. Such emails may not be considered private and as a result could be subpoenaed via your employer for litigation evidence. A good way to avoid problems is to create email accounts specifically for association or board-related communications.

Read more here.

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