These are steps that should be taken when a lawsuit is filed, or when an association, through its board members or management, receives a threat or notice of a claim that may result in litigation:

  1. First, Ensure Proper Insurance Coverage. Your condo association should have insurance coverage in place that will cover legal fees to defend a lawsuit. Consult with an insurance agent who specializes in coverage for community associations when determining which policies are appropriate.
  2. Send Notification of Claim: Insurance Carrier(s) and Attorney. Many associations often contact their insurance providers simply to put the provider on notice that they’ve received a communication which contains a threat of a claim, prior to the filing of actual litigation. Management and/or board of directors should also contact the association’s legal counsel.
  3. Determine if Insurance Coverage Exists. Many claims that are filed against associations and board members may be covered by one or more of the association’s insurance policies. The board should familiarize itself with each policy carried by the association.
  4. Confirm Legal Representation. When a lawsuit is filed, an association’s insurance carrier may assign legal counsel from a panel of “pre-approved” attorneys often used by the insurance company or it may have the right to choose its own attorney. Review this item with association's counsel to determine how legal representation will be handled for the claim.
  5. Vote to Defend Against Litigation. Any time an action is filed against individual board members, the board, the property manager or management company, or the association, the board must take the formal action of voting in an open meeting to defend the litigation.

Click here to read more about handling owner lawsuits in a condominium association.

Board Members often see the job of the secretary as daunting because of their duty to take meeting minutes. This task is often considered so daunting that Boards will often outsource instead of doing it themselves. However, taking minutes isn’t as difficult as some believe. Below are some helpful hints for any Board secretary.

  1. Meeting minutes are not verbatim transcripts. They should include the date, time, and location of the meeting, the names of present and absent Board Members, whether a quorum was met, voting where a motion was made, seconded and the outcome of the vote, actions take or agreed upon, items that are tabled, and the adjournment time.
  2. Be prepared for the meeting. Prepare a template beforehand so that taking notes is easy and fast, read through the agenda before the meeting, and bring a list of Board Members for attendance.
  3. Keep the notes short and sweet.

To read more, click here.

This is one of a series of articles regarding changes in the IL Condo Act that will become effective in 2018.

Your condo association's Declaration will outline the requirements for changing the Declaration itself. Your Declaration may require notification or approval of a proposed amendment by mortgagees. Mortgagees are the lenders or banks holding mortgages on the units in the building.

Mortgagees can be difficult to communicate with. It seems that this reality is now being addressed by 2018 changes to the IL Condo Act.

A change to Section 27 of the IL Condo Act provides that if amendments to condominium instruments require the approval of a mortgagee, the mortgagee is deemed to have approved the request unless they deliver a negative response within 60 days of mailing a request for approval by certified mail by the Association.

Amendments should always be created with the help of an experienced condo law attorney to ensure that the proper procedures are followed.

This is one of a series of articles regarding changes in the IL Condo Act that will become effective in 2018.

Condominium de-conversions have become a popular way for condo owners living in buildings with high rental ratios to unburden themselves of condo ownership by selling collectively to an investor. The investor purchases the entire building and turns it into a rental property.

A de-conversion sale requires a vote of 75% of the unit owners by ownership percentage. Unfortunately for some owners, this could mean that if they owe more on their unit than it is worth in the sale, it could cost them. A change effective in 2018 will help to protect those owners.

An amendment to Section 15 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act states that, if a unit owner objects to the sale of the property, they could be entitled to receive the greater of:

  1. The value of their interest as determined by an appraisal, minus any unpaid assessments; or
  2. The outstanding balance of bona fide debt (mortgage) of the objecting unit owner’s interest, minus any unpaid assessments or charges due. The objecting owner is also entitled to receive reimbursements for reasonable relocation costs.

As a result of this change, owners with mortgage balances exceeding their appraised value will be entitled to at least be paid the amount of their outstanding debt.

By CCR Sponsor Mark Lestina, President - Wastemaster Corp.

A property management professional once told me “Our clients rarely review their waste removal contracts and since they can run 3 years, they often miss the deadline for making any changes. They can almost always find a way to save if they can cancel an existing contract.” 

We hear this almost every day.  Most often, when condo boards finally decide to take action to shop around, the existing contract has already renewed for multiple years and cannot be cancelled without paying liquated damages.

Why is it so hard to cancel a waste and recycling contract on its expiration date? The answer can be complicated.

First, let’s look at what the “expiration date” really is.  A waste hauler contract might state that the expiration date is considered to “start on the date on which service under this agreement commences…”   So if the signature date reads 01/01/17 but the start date is listed as 04/01/17, the contract will expire (usually 36 months) on 03/31/20 and not 12/31/19.  When you have a small window of time in which to send a cancellation letter to the waste hauler, this 90 day period could impact the validity of your letter.

Second, the timeframe for cancelling is extremely limited.  Most trash haulers will have language in their service agreements that allow for a cancellation “window” of time extending 60 or 90 days and usually it’s between 60 to 120 or 90 to 180 days prior to the end of the current term.  In the example above, the contract that expires on 03/31/20 will need to be cancelled during a specific window of time that is clearly spelled out in the agreement.  If the terms are 60 to 120 days, then the waste hauler must receive notice between 11/30/19 and 01/31/20.  What happens if the cancellation letter is received a day earlier or a day later than the cancellation window?  Your hauler might just throw it in the trash because technically, the contract language hasn’t been followed. 

Finally, if you can figure out your window if time to send cancellation, where will you set up your reminder?  Outlook?  Google calendar?  A Post-it note on your desk?  Your waste hauler is NOT going to call you with a reminder so the board will be responsible for tracking the cancellation date and taking action at the right time. If the board has changed, how will this be handled? 

Rather than worrying about renewal dates, why do individuals continue to sign service agreements with an “auto renew” clause in the first place?  Most are unaware that they can simply strike that auto-renew clause from the start!

My research shows that condo associations overpay for waste and recycling removal service because they do not understand how contracts work.

We have a solution to this problem and have saved our average customer 26%.

Send us a recent invoice and we will compare your rate to others and give you the details on potential savings. There is no cost or obligation for Wastemaster to perform the analysis. Contact us today!

Mark Lestina
President – Wastemaster Corp.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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