As the "boiler buddy" for my association, I'm responsible for handling the regular maintenance of the boiler that supplies heat to three of the four units in our building.  This includes annual maintenance required before the boiler is switched on for the season.

When I first handled this task last year, we were newly turned over from the developer, who had supplied the information for the company that had previously performed maintenance on our boiler. When I called the company to schedule an appointment, I found that they were booked for several weeks out, which meant that we wouldn't be able to start up the boiler (safely) until close to December!  Fortunately, I located another great company who was able to fit us in sooner due to a cancellation.

Though it seems that summer is just leaving us, it's crucial to begin making calls for your boiler servicing now so that you are up and running when the cold of winter comes.  It'll be here before we know it! Brrrr.....

The short answer to this question is: Only owners can serve on the Board.  But what constitutes an owner?  In order to be a legal owner in a condominium association, the owner's name must appear on the warranty deed for the property. 

In the event the unit owner is a corporation, partnership, trust or other legal entity other than a natural person or persons, then any director or officer, beneficiary or manager may serve as a member of the Board.

Spouses and other family members who reside in a unit cannot serve on the Board unless their name appears on the deed to the property.  This prevents any individual who does not have a legal stake in the property from making decisions about its operation.

Unsure whether your Board members are, in fact, deeded owners?  You can search for this information on the Cook County Recorder of Deeds' website by owner name or Property Index Number (PIN).  The Warranty Deed document will list all owners who are on the deed for the property. 

I personally goofed recently when looking into the incorporation status of a prospective client, as the Secretary of State has changed the way they post information about incorporation status on their website.  Now that I’ve straightened this out, I thought I’d share this primer on incorporating and keeping your incorporation In Good Standing.

Haus Financial Services is pleased to announce a new seminar series for condo Board members and owners beginning in August, 2009.  We will be partnering with the Rogers Park Community Development Corporation to offer twice monthly seminars focusing on various aspects of condominium association living and management.  Speakers include:

Lauren Peddinghaus, Haus Financial Services
Kortney Peagram, Otavala Consulting
Ebony Wilkerson, Attorney, Peace of Mind Properties

All seminars will be held at the Rogers Park Library (6907 N. Clark St.) from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.

Tuesday, August 18th - Ask the Expert: Open Forum for Condo Board Members and Owners

Wednesday, August 26th - Conflict Management and Mediation For Condo Board Members and Owners

Wednesday, September 16thAsk the Expert: Open Forum for Condo Board Members and Owners

Wednesday, September 30th - Best Financial Practices for Self-Managing Condominium Associations

Click here to see our flyer for more information about the series and how to register.

We hope to see you there!

Is Peoples Gas estimating your gas usage?  You may be hit with a large bill following an actual reading...

Our gas meter was read on June 5th after six months of "estimated" readings from November 19, 2008 through May 20, 2009.  Following the meter reading, we received an invoice cancelling the billing that had been issued for those months and showing a "Revised Prior Billing" amount that was $1,270.54 higher than the cancelled amount.  Unlike all of the other invoices we have received from Peoples Gas, there is no breakdown of the calculation for the revised billing.

The problem with this is that the delivery charge for the first 100 therms is about 2 1/2 times the charge for therms used over the first 100.  And gas rates from November through May ranged from $0.41490/therm to $0.99130/therm.  So which rates did Peoples Gas apply to the additonal usage?

Three calls to Peoples Gas could not turn up this information, though one representative indicated that we were charged the first 100 therms rate (which we'd already paid during each of those six months!)  I have made it clear to Peoples Gas that they must take an actual reading every month before they bill us.  If they can't explain how they are calculating their "Revised Bils", then we're not taking chances with estimates. 

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