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.

It’s fall in Chicago! On top of getting involved in all the fall festivities, it is also important to get involved in recycling. Below are several ways you can personally get involved or contribute to Chicago’s recycling efforts this fall:

1. The Recycling Partnership

This national non-profit has the goal of collecting more and better quality recyclables. In Chicago, the Partnership has provided the city with some needed resources, including recycling info cards that highlight what is recyclable, and the costliest items that are not recyclable.

To get real information about what is being placed in Chicago’s recycling bins, the Recycling Partnership took random samplings of carts to see what recyclables were going in the garbage and vice versa. Investigating these details gave the Partnership a baseline understanding of what’s happening, which allows them to modify their educational materials to meet the needs of the City of Chicago.

The Partnership also raised awareness for recycling with their “It’s All You” campaign, inspired by everyday moments that include recycling, the campaign reminds the residents of Chicago about the good they can do.

Click here to learn more or get involved with the Recycling Partnership. 

2. No carve, no waste, pumpkin decorating.

It is estimated that 40% of the food grown in the United States is wasted. This equates to $165 billion dollars’ worth of food that ends up in landfills every year.

Click here for no-carve, stylish, and simple to make pumpkin decorations. They will preserve the flesh of the pumpkin so they can go from decoration to dessert with no waste.  

3. Chicago’s Yard Waste Program

Nationally, yard waste accounts for about 15-30% of all landfill space. Chicago’s Yard Waste Program diverts waste by harvesting the nutrients found in leaves and grass. This is a simple and effective means of conserving landfill space, reducing pollution, and creating healthy soil.

To take part, collect your leaves and grass in a paper or plastic bag and call 3-1-1 to order free collection. Yard Waste service is available all year round, free of charge.

Click here to learn more.

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