As we prepare 2009 Refuse Rebates for our clients, we are finding many who used to be eligible for the Rebate no longer qualify.

In particular, if you use Allied Waste or Groot, who previously included recycling in their pickup service through post-collection sorting (they either sorted the recyclables from the regular waste or required owners to use Blue Bags when tossing recyclables into their containers), and you don't have separate containers for pickup of your recyclables, you are not eligible for a Rebate.  As many already know, the Blue Bag program has been out of commission for some time now.

The City of Chicago requires that your association have a recycling program in place in order to receive your annual reimbursement (up to $75/unit).  The easiest way to ensure that you are eligible, and the most environmentally-friendly option, is to contract for separate recycling pickup for your building.  Contact your waste hauler for more information.

We are always advising Board members to be careful about what is recorded in meeting minutes and shared with owners.  Not only can a potential buyer review the minutes and potentially find reasons not to proceed with a purchase, Board members could leave themselves vulnerable to defamation lawsuits if they include notes that reveal personal information about an owner.

Meeting minutes should also be approved by the Board at a subsequent meeting to ensure that they are accurate before they are made available to owners.

For more on recording minutes, read our article  "Board Secretary getting carpel tunnel? Take the pain out of taking Board meeting minutes!"

You can also download our Guide to Conducting a Condominium Association Meeting in the Forms & Templates section for additional information and sample minutes.

 

Your association's general insurance policy should cover your building at its full replacement cost.  It is the Board's responsibility to obtain adequate insurance for the association.  Failure to obtain proper insurance could leave the Board personally responsible if a claim is made and coverage is not sufficient. 

Speak to your insurance agent about having a building replacement cost appraisal done to be sure that your policy contains the appropriate coverage amounts.  

I've been doing some research lately into possible bank financing for capital expenditures for a small condo association.  To be honest, there aren't many options out there for smaller buildings.  Most banks aren't willing to take a risk on a smaller building, usually because a single defaulting unit can have a great impact or the loan simply isn't a worthwhile financial investment for them.  However, you can increase your chances of obtaining financing if you have the proper documentation in order when you are ready to apply.  In general, you'll need the following to be evaluated for a bank loan:

  • Tax Returns for last two fiscal years
  •  Financial Statements for last two fiscal years (Income Statement & Balance Sheet)
  • Year-to-Date Financial Statements, including an Accounts Receivable Ledger
  • Current Annual Budget
  • Current # of Non-Owner Occupied Units
  • Description and cost estimates of work to be completed and copies of bids or signed contracts for the work to be performed
Being diligent about your financial well-being isn't just good business practice, it could mean the difference between a bank loan and a major special assessment.  If you need help getting this documentation in order, please give HausFS a call!

One of the biggest challenges in condo living tends to be a lack of storage space for owners.  Owners might have a small storage unit in the basement if they're lucky, and maybe a bit of extra space in a garage if they're extra lucky.  In general, storage seems to be in short supply when it comes to condo living.

As a result, personal belonging often end up in hallways, entrance ways and stairwells.  Shoes, bikes and baby strollers tend to collect in these areas.  And while owners may have limited personal storage space, personal belongings are specifically prohibited from common areas by nearly every Declaration I've encountered.  Common areas are not an appropriate place for your personal belongings and you may be open to fines if you store your stuff anywhere other than in your unit or assigned storage area. 

Of course, every association has the right to make exceptions.  Before you impose on the space that you share with your neighbors, you should communicate with the Board about whether or not it is permissible to leave anything in a common area.  

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