Some of the most common issues that plague condominium associations include pets, renting and smoking. These are all matters that can be addressed uniformly via either Rules & Regulations or an amendment to your governing documents (Declaration or Bylaws).

Here are a few important points to consider when contemplating a change to your Rules & Regulations versus an amendment to your Declaration or Bylaws.

  • An amendment is a legal process that requires an affirmative owner vote (at least 2/3 but no more than ¾), notification to mortgagees (lenders) and recording of documents.
  • Amendments should be prepared and recorded by an attorney to ensure that they do not conflict with laws and statutes that supersede them (such as federal and state laws).
  • Amendments are harder to challenge because they require a super majority vote. By default, the courts consider them to be reasonable provided the proper steps were taken to adopt them.
  • Rules & Regulations do not require an owner vote – they can be adopted by board vote at a properly noticed board meeting, open to all owners.
  • Owners must be given at least 10 days’ notification of the meeting, accompanied by a copy of the proposed Rules & Regulations.
  • Rules & Regulations can be changed by the board at any time, subject to the procedures outlined above.

Both amendments and Rules & Regulations can effectively reduce conflict and promote harmonious living in your condo building. Knowing the differences between them can help you to decide which option is best suited to your association.

See our Educational Videos on Rules & Regulations with a CCR membership.

Thanks to changes in the IL Condo Act, board members can approve a loan to the associaiton for large capital repair projects without the need for an owner vote.

If your association has been putting off major projects because you don't have the funds to cover the expense, and you are concerned about issuing a large Special Assessment to owners at this time, a loan may be an option for you.

This is an option that is available even to small condo buildings, provided you have your documentation and finances in order. If you'd like to explore this option and are unsure of where to start, HausFS is available to help you navigate the process. Big projects, when not addressed, only cost more as time goes by!

Smoking is still a very hot topic for condo boards. Smoke of any kind can easily travel between units and through common elements, creating health issues for all owners.

If your association is experiencing issues with smoke, the best course of action is to attempt to amend your Declaration to prohibit smoking in units as well as common areas. This measure requires a 2/3 vote of the unit owners, at minimum, to pass. If you cannot garner the necessary votes for an amendment, there are other steps the board can take to mimimize the the nuisance. 

The associaton's Rules & Regulations can be passed by the board without an owner vote. These rules can prohibit smoking in common areas and impose fines for violations. The board can also require any lease in the building to contain a "No Smoking" clause to address rented units. Owners are required by the IL Condo act to provide a copy of any lease to the board, which allows for the review of this required clause. Again, the board can impose fines for violation of this requirement and for any smoking that occurs in rented units.

Every measure adds up. Continue to poll your owners for support of a smoking ban in the builidng and take smaller steps until you can accomplish this.


The City of Chicago's Shared Cost Sidewalk Program allows property owners to share the cost of sidewalk repair with the city. This can dramatically reduce the expense of repairing sidewalks around your building and increase the curb appeal and safety of your property.

Applications open on Monday, January 11th at 6 am and fill up quickly. Learn more and apply here.

Has your association been charging a Move In and/or Move Out deposit? If you are collecting money and returning it after the move is complete, you're missing an opportunity to put additonal income into the association's bank account to cover necessary maintenance over time.

Entryways, hallways and stairwells can take quite a beating each time an owner or tenant moves into or out of a condo building. This is particularly true if your associaiton has a large number of rental units. Eventually, repairs and maintenance need to be completed to mitigate dings and scrapes and freshen up these common areas. Move In and Move Out Fees (rather than deposits) can help to cover this work when it needs to be done.

Charging a fee, which the association keeps, is less complicated and more financially attractive than a deposit. These funds are added income to the association, and boards don't have to worry about holding payments or issuing refunds after a move. 

Note that a Move In/Move Out Fee is separate from a charge for any serious damage done to the common elements by owners or tenants. The association can also charge the cost for those repairs back to the offending owner. Simple wear and tear, however, should be covered by the fee.

It's a new year and a great time to re-examine your association's processes for moves. Move In/Move Out Fees are is a simple way to promote financial health in your association.

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