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  • May 31, 2019 3:24 PM | Anonymous

    By: Condo Law Watch Tressler LLP

    In the context of homeowners and condominium associations, a proxy is a document authorizing a person to act or vote on behalf of an owner who is unable to attend a meeting. Proxies are most commonly used at board elections and owners wishing to run for a seat on the board of directors will often times go door-to-door collecting proxies ahead of elections. Although proxies are a powerful tool for board elections, both the Illinois Condominium Property Act (the Condo Act) and the Common Interest Community Association Act (CICAA) contain strict requirements for proxies. While proxies do not need to be on any specific form, if a proxy does not meet these minimum requirements set forth in the Condo Act, CICAA or the association’s governing documents, then the proxy must be deemed invalid and the vote associated with the proxy should not be counted.

    Specifically, Section 18(b)(9)(A) of the Condo Act provides that unless the Articles of Incorporation or the By-Laws of an Association provide otherwise, “a unit owner may vote by proxy executed in writing by the unit owner or by his duly authorized attorney in fact; that the proxy must bear the date of execution and, unless the condominium instruments or the written proxy itself provide otherwise, is invalid after 11 months from the date of its execution.” This means that the proxy must: (1) be in writing; (2) signed and dated by the owner executing the proxy; and (3) is automatically invalid 11 months after the execution date, unless otherwise stated.

    If the board opts to distribute its own proxy forms prior to an election, Section 18(a)(18) of the Condo Act further requires that the proxy must give owners “the opportunity to express a preference for any of the known candidates for the board or to write in a name.”

    Section 1-25(h-5)(1) of CICAA has similar requirements as the Condo Act and provides that an owner may vote, “by proxy executed in writing by the member or by his or her duly authorized attorney in fact, provided, however, that the proxy bears the date of execution. Unless the community instruments or the written proxy itself provide otherwise, proxies will not be valid for more than 11 months after the date of its execution.”

    Once a proxy is submitted to the board, it is best practice for the board or the board’s managing agent to carefully examine each proxy to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Condo Act or CICAA prior to counting the vote associated with the proxy. It is also important to review the Association’s governing documents to confirm any additional requirements for proxies are also met.  When examining proxies, the board should also confirm that the proxy is signed by the record owner of the unit and not a non-owner occupant of the unit. Further, the board should ensure that the person acting as an owner’s proxy at a meeting is the same individual identified on the proxy form. Finally, the board should ensure that the proxy holder votes according to the owner’s preference if such is expressed on the proxy form.

    Proxies are revocable. That means an owner can change his or her mind and issue a new proxy which would effectively invalidate the earlier executed proxy.  An owner can also appear in person at the meeting and cast a ballot to invalidate a proxy.

  • April 01, 2019 8:44 AM | Anonymous

    Dr. Brandon Hamilton, Ombudsperson for Tree Farm Estates

    I grew up in Gary, Indiana. After high school and a period in the Navy, I went to colleges in Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. With all of this travel, I never thought about purchasing property. I also decided to stay flexible so that I could accept employment anywhere. I worked in Boston, San Diego, Valparaiso (Indiana) just to name a few cities. After completing my doctorate in business, I decided to settle in the Chicagoland area. I purchased a townhome in Tree Farm Estates, just on the southern outskirts of Chicago in the Village of Calumet Park.

    I had never lived anywhere long enough to recognize that now, as a homeowner, I also became a part of a community. I don’t want to take that distinction for granted. Let’s talk about the word community. Some have defined a community as a group of people living in the same defined area, sharing the same basic values and sharing an organizational framework. Sociologists and geographers define a community as any set of social relationships operating within certain boundaries. The Village of Calumet Park has very small boundaries as it is just one square mile with about 8,000 residents. I knew nothing of the history and sociology and culture of this little village, so I had to learn from neighbors. I also became an active citizen, attending numerous municipality meetings. I had some vary courageous conversations with elected officials. I soon was appointed the Director of Community Relations for the Village. For those that move into a condominium or homeowner associations, your community is also a population that is geographically focused and with a collective identity and with a collective purpose. I started to get a better grasp of the word community as I read the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Easements and Restrictions for Tree Farm Estates Townhome Association. This was difficult to grasp at first reading because there were a lot of terms and definitions that were new to me. As I became comfortable with this governing document and my new home, I was invited by some neighbors to attend a meeting to discuss forming an association. After just a few minutes of this meeting, I realized that the current owners were actually forming an organization that would gather complaints to express to the developer’s lawyer, the person currently running the association. I was inexperienced with shared ownership, but I did not think that our community should be a complex mass of needs and problems but rather a diverse web of collaborative citizens. The developer’s lawyer informed us that we had to officially form an association and select a management company as our Board of Managers. I was elected president of the Board of Directors as the owners recognized my experience as an officer of many not-for-profit boards. We decided against a management company.

    We became self-managed by combining the roles of the Board of Directors and the Board of Managers. Influenced by a tradition of 19th century romanticism, some sociologists have regarded community as necessarily beneficial to human needs and social interaction. There can be numerous community platforms for common interest communities: There are communities of action, communities of practice, communities of place, communities of interest and communities of circumstances. We knew that we are clearly a “community of place” united by geography. However, many of us moved into the townhome complex without knowing that this is a shared ownership community. You would certainly, therefore, view this association as a “community of circumstances,” united by challenges not of our making. But even this framework is not bad as we learned to focus as a community on dealing with various situations collaboratively. As I diagnosed our community socially, politically, culturally and economically, I saw a need to create a more effective community model. Some of the owners had gotten to know their neighbors well enough such that we could accept that we developed into a “community of interest” focusing on a passion for the same values and activities. Members of a community of interest generally share the same common interest focusing upon depth of passion for that interest. We realized that the Board of Directors needed to push toward more hardcore discussions about the applicability of the bylaws, declarations, rules and regulations. As leaders of the community of interest, our Board of Directors began to evolve into a “community of action,” using collective power to develop policies and make changes. We needed to understand our community and the various social groups that formed. We had to learn how to gather commitments from primary groups, secondary groups, ingroups and outgroups. Primary groups are the enduring owners. Secondary groups lack the emotional bonding or sharing of common values. Ingroups share a sense of identity. Outgroups have no sense of loyalty to the association. This community of action framework is very effective when there is community commitment. We are still struggling at Tree Farm Estates with forming committed committees to help us share best practices.

    I am now the ombudsperson for Tree Farm Estates with a focus on educating unit owners and the Board of Directors about the Common Interest Community Act and complying with the laws governing common interest community property.

    Whatever the definitional difficulties, all communities, both real and symbolic, exist and operate within boundaries. These boundaries serve to demarcate social membership from non-membership. Whatever framework you see in your association, there are actions that you can take to build an ideology of community in your condominium or homeowner association boundaries. You can invite your neighbors over for a meal. You can mentor a youth in the association. You can help simply by picking up litter on the property if you see it. It is my hope by sharing my leadership experiences at Tree Farm Estates that your association learns to work together to make yours a community where you are all proud to be members.

    Dr. Brandon Hamilton

  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Anonymous

    By: Michael C. Kim, Michael C. Kim & Associates

    Michael C. Kim, ACTHA member and ASCO General Counsel, highlights the importance of condominium elections and the steps that need to be taken to ensure a fair, legal election. 

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  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Anonymous

    By: Kelly Elmore, Principal at Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit

    When disaster strikes your Association, are you prepared? Here are four steps to take when faced with damage to your Association’s property.

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  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Anonymous

    By: Adams Roofing

    Condensation naturally occurs whenever warm, moisture-laden air contacts a cooler surface.

    Similar to how beads of moisture collect on the outside of an ice-filled glass in summer, condensation can form on the underside of your roof in winter. Warmth escaping from your living space into the attic is the catalyst for condensation formation. If this is occurring in your home, it’s vital to learn about the damage it can cause and how to resolve it.

    Read More

  • April 01, 2019 12:30 AM | Anonymous

    By: Rosen Management

    Community Association Board Members and Managers are responsible for carrying out businesses that protect millions of dollars worth of real estate. Daily problems arise that range in magnitude and importance, but all require sound business judgment to resolve. Many times, what is also required is the cooperation or consensus of Association residents comprised of different interests, values and personalities. Their cooperation can mean the difference between solving a problem on paper and actually solving it. It is virtually impossible to solve big or complex problems without having adverse effects on at least some interests. Consequently, almost any big or complex problem will not get unanimous support. 

    Read More

  • February 21, 2019 1:57 PM | Talia Lionetti

    Pro Home 1 Inc. is an independent contractor with over 40+ years of combined residential and multi-family complex construction experience. Pro Home 1, what recognized and awarded by Remodeling Magazine as a BIG50 Americas top Remodeler and has received a Business Excellence award by Daily Herald Business Ledger.  We provide straight talk and help our customers to understand their options, so they can make the best-informed decision. Our vision is to become the area's most trusted and respected provider of quality remodeling and be rewarded by customer's increase pride in their home. 

    Services include: Roofing, Siding, Soffits, Gutters, Balconies and windows/doors.

  • February 20, 2019 12:06 PM | Talia Lionetti

    Deborah Hagan will serve as Secretary of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).* For over 36 years, Hagan has been a strong and exemplary advocate for consumer protection in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In her role as leader of the Consumer Protection Division, she advanced and defended the interests of Illinois consumers in critical areas such as mortgage origination and servicing, student loan servicing, debt collection, identity theft and other areas of financial risk. Hagan has played a critical leadership role in many groundbreaking settlements on the state and national level, helping to recover billions of dollars in restitution for victims of consumer fraud and other wrongful conduct. In addition to her current role which she has held since 2004, Hagan has served as bureau chief, deputy bureau chief and assistant attorney general. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Miami University.

    Mario Treto, Jr. will serve as Director of Real Estate at IDFPR.* Treto currently serves as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Evanston where he provides legal counsel to its elected officials, departments, and staff with compliance, transactional, and corporate matters. Prior to entering the public sector, he worked at a Chicago-based law firm focusing his practice on commercial and residential real estate, corporate law and commercial transactions. Treto is a nationally recognized lawyer by various organizations, including the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National LGBT Bar. He also serves as board chair of Howard Brown Health, a federally qualified health center in the Chicagoland area with ten clinics and a youth center serving 35,000 patients. He received his Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts in biology and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.
    Francisco Menchaca will continue to serve as Director of Financial Institutions at IDFPR.* Menchaca has held the post since his appointment by Gov. Quinn in July 2013 and previously served the department as credit union supervisor. Prior to beginning state service, Menchaca developed an extensive resume managing financial institutions and governmental agencies at the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC). He has spent over twenty years of his career in the financial industry, notably serving as the First Vice President at Bank One, where he also spearheaded the Latino Employee Network. Menchaca is a proponent of robust public-private partnerships and community outreach, citing his youth in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood as his inspiration in seeking to provide opportunities for educational and economic development. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University.
    Jessica Baer will continue to serve as Director of Professional Regulation at IDFPR.*
     Baer has held the post since her appointment by Gov. Rauner in September 2016 and previously served the department as general counsel. In that role, she oversaw the entire legal department for the agency, providing input on a number of topics including pending litigation, labor issues, and legislation. Prior to joining IDFPR, Baer spent six years as an associate at K&L Gates focusing on litigation and antitrust law. Her cases involved complex contractual disputes, antitrust litigation and regulatory compliance counseling. Baer is licensed to practice law in Illinois.  She earned her Juris Doctor from DePaul University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    Click here to view the previous appointments to the Pritzker administration.

  • February 04, 2019 3:53 PM | Talia Lionetti

    The Cook County property tax bill due March 1, 2019, shows taxpayers the debt of every local government that levies taxes on their homes and other real estate, helping explain why taxes rise, Treasurer Maria Pappas said today.

    “The financial challenges facing local governments can seem unreal because the numbers are so large,” Pappas said. “The tax bills show homeowners the problems are indeed real.”

    Anywhere from five to 13 taxing districts — local governments and school districts — levy taxes on a given property, Pappas explained.

    On the front of every bill is a section called “Taxing District Debt and Financial Data,” which provides detailed information for each taxing district, including:

    • Money owed by your taxing districts
    • Pension and health care amounts promised by your taxing districts
    • Amount of pension and health care shortage
    • Percentage of pension and health care costs taxing districts can pay

    The First Installment for Tax Year 2018 is due March 1, 2019. The First Installment is always 55 percent of the prior year’s total taxes. About 1.7 million property tax bills have been mailed to owners of homes, businesses and land, Pappas said. Property owners can download a copy of the new bill by going to

    Click here to download the article. 

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