When it comes to condo board elections, owners have the right to vote in person or to submit a signed "proxy." A proxy allows another individual to vote on their behalf if they are unable to attend the election meeting. Candidates running for election can solicit proxies from owners in efforts to garner the votes they need to be voted onto the board.

Although proxies may not be ideal, they are not unethical.  It is often necessary within condominium living to meet quorum requirements. This means that a certain percentage of owners must participate in a vote in person or by proxy for the vote to be considered valid. Meeting with fellow owners and trying to get their vote is the same way politics work on a national, state, and local scale. As long as candidates are given equal opportunity to solicit votes, it is ethical and democratic.

 Read more here.


Condominium associations in Illinois are required by law to carry property insurance that covers the common elements of the property. Unit owners are responsible for insuring their units. When there is damage to a unit or the common elements, however, there is often a lot of confusion regarding who is responsible and how a claim should be handled.

Here are a few basic tips regarding insurance and insurance claims in condo buildings in Illinois:

  1. The association's insurance policy covers damage to the common elements, up to the drywall/primer in the unit. Any original fixtures in the unit (as installed by the developer) are generally also covered.
  2. Unit owners are responsible for damage to the paint or other wall or floor coverings plus the contents of their units (personal belongings). Tile, carpeting, flooring, wall paper, etc. are therefore the unit owner's responsibility. Unit owners should have an HO-6 insurance policy in place to cover their unit contents. 
  3. Insurance typically covers only the damage resulting from an event, not the cause of damage from lack of maintenance. If a roof leaks because a tree falls on it, an insurance policy would likely cover repairs to the roof as well as repairs to the damaged common elements. If a roof leaks because the association has not replaced or repaired an aging roof, an insurance policy maycover resulting damages but not roof repairs.
  4. If a problem originates from within a unit (leaking toilet or bathtub, broken in-unit water heater, fire) and leads to damage to the common elements and/or another unit, the association must address the repairs of the affected common elements. If a claim is made, the association's deductible is chargeable back to the unit that caused the damage provided there is evidence to support this. Damage to portions of the units not covered by the association's policy must be handled by the unit owner(s). 
  5. It is often most effective for the association to file an insurance claim, determine what is covered, charge back any deductible to negligent units as applicable and then allow the unit owners to work out any uncovered repairs to units with their respective insurance carriers. 
  6. Whenever there is a need to make repairs to portions of the building from the drywall out into common walls, the association should be involved. It is not advisable to allow unit owners to handle their own repairs if it means going into walls. The association should ensure that licensed and insured contractors are handling any necessary repairs to the common elements in order to mitigate additional damage.

Handling insurance claims can be complicated. Coverage will be dictated by your association's Declaration and by your existing insurance policy.

Two Chicago aldermen want to reverse a state law that makes condo owners’ personal information more widely available to fellow association members, including owners’ names, addresses, email, phone number, and weighted votes in Chicago condo buildings and complexes. This state law kicked in at the beginning of this year and requires more owner data to be turned over to any association member who requests it. The alderman’s proposal would go along with many other provisions in the newly modified state condo law.

Condo associations in Chicago could choose to opt out of the rules requiring disclosure or make all names, addresses, and other related data available if two-thirds of owners approve.

To learn more, click here.

The Cook County Treasurer has released the first installment of 2017 property tax bills with a due date of March 1, 2018. This is an estimated tax bill; the amount due will be 55% of the prior year’s total tax. If you have a 2017 appeal pending you still need to pay this bill. Any change in the 2017 tax bill will be reflected on the second installment tax bill later this summer.

If you have a new Property Tax Index Number for 2017, your first installment tax bill will be zero. The entire tax bill for 2017 will be reflected and due on the second installment.

Harassment/Inappropriate behavior is a significant and growing problem in community association as the number of complaints about owners harassing board members, managers, maintenance staff, vendors, and sometimes other owners, rise every year. Human interactions in all areas have become less civilized. People are more inclined to shout their disagreements and less inclined to discuss them; they are more demanding and insistent on having their way and less tolerant of people who don’t give them what they want or think they are entitled to have.

Homeowner association rules typically guarantee owners the right to the “quiet enjoyment” of their homes. Whether the incidents are isolated or repetitive, the bottom line will always be whether the targeted individual felt intimidated or threatened, not whether the angry individual viewed his/her actions as abusive or intimidating or intended them that way.

Below are steps to follow when dealing with harassment or inappropriate behavior within a condo association:

  1. Write the offending individual a letter, or have the association’s attorney write a letter, describing the behavior, noting that it violated the association’s rules and stating the individual will be subject to fines or other sanctions and possibly legal action if the behavior doesn’t stop.
  2. If this isn’t enough, seek a civil restraining order in court, the details of which will depend on the nature of the offending actions

To learn more, click here

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