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  • August 28, 2018 2:35 PM | Talia Lionetti

    An Interview with Oak Grove Condominiums

    ACTHA: Give a brief description of your subdivision, location, size, type, method of governance, self-managed or Management Company?

    We are a condominium complex in Midlothian, IL. about 30 miles south of Chicago. We have 12 buildings with 144 units total. We are self-managed.

    ACTHA: Give a description of your Association Board; number of directors, master, sub-association.

    We have 5 Board members no master or sub-association.

    ACTHA: What does your Board do that makes your Association function smoothly? Name three factors.

    Our Board runs smoothly because all of the board members want to make our complex a great place to live. Even if there may be a difference of opinion everyone is respectful and hears out any ideas. We have set meetings 4 times a year already scheduled by our November voter’s meeting, so all board members are aware of the date well in advance. The board has the meeting at a local pizza place on half price day, so it is economical and provides a more relaxed environment to hold meetings over dinner.

    ACTHA: What have you implemented at your Board Meetings that works well during Homeowner Sessions?

    For a long time, our Board meetings had a lot of interruptions and questions while the Board was discussing business. Once we were all on board with reminding owners this is a meeting for the Board to discuss business and we are very happy to take questions after the meeting we had a much smoother meeting. Once owners knew we wanted to hear what they had to say, and we would answer questions at the end everyone was happy with that. We always have a table set up as you walk in to sign in the meeting, we have last meeting’s minutes and the nights agenda set out. We also found serving pizza during the board meeting rather then after gave the owners something to do while they listened to Board discussions. The Board not only answers any owner questions, but 2 or 3 Board members usually stay after most people have left and chat with owners still there to get a feel of how they things are going.

    ACTHA: What are your most recent accomplishments? Projects for example.

    Our Board has been busy! In the last few years we have put on 96 new balconies. We have 10 new roofs and gutters with the last two roofs going on this fall. We had to repair a huge sink hole between two of our buildings that cost as much as 3 or 4 roofs! We are also FHA approved and that was a lot of work.

    ACTHA: What are your challenges in your community you as a Board deal with?

    Our biggest challenge right now is the age of our buildings. They were built in 1974 and converted to condominiums in 1981. We have the best maintenance person and without him, it would be very difficult to keep up with repairs. We worked very hard the last few years to get the bones of the buildings sound, now we are taking the piping repairs and age-related problems as they come up. The challenges in the community mostly stem from trying to get people that do not live in the complex to stay off the property. While we want to be good neighbors, we have a lot of people in the community walking through our property to get to businesses on the other side of us. They cut through our property and throw trash and break our fence regularly.  Dog owners on and off the property are a big issue also. We have many dog owners that do not clean up after their dogs and cause a mess.

    ACTHA: What do you do for community “buy in”?

    We do have a “buy in”. We call it a Capital Contribution and it has been in effect since 1993. We explain to the buys that they have a new balcony and new roof that all owners have paid for and they will have the benefit of all the improvements made.

    ACTHA: Tell us about the most rewarding part of your volunteer run.

    I think in talking to Board members the most rewarding part of the job is keeping our complex a wonderful place to live and being involved in how that gets done.

    ACTHA: What advice would you give new Board members?

    To a new Board member, I would be honest and tell them it’s a lot of work for which many homeowners are not very grateful. The upside is they are helping maintain the place they live and have a vested interest in seeing do well. Their opinion matters! Read the By-Laws and Rules & Regulations and be familiar with them. If you listen to an owner and they feel heard that is a great start on resolving an issue.

    ACTHA: Who are your most valuable resources? Attorney, Manager, Accountant, Management Company, Community officials, Police, Fire Depts.

    Our most valuable resources are many. Our maintenance person can do just about anything. Our attorneys Kovitz, Shifrin & Nesbit always keep us on the right path, we are in contact with them a lot. We have a great accountant that we depend on for Quarterly statements and tax work.

    ACTHA: How do you foster harmonious Board relations?

    I really believe when someone serves on the Board it is to keep our community a great place to live and protect their investment along with all the other owners’ investments. When everyone has the same goal in mind it makes it easier to work as a team. We all have different opinions and ways to do things, but with the same goal.


  • August 28, 2018 10:40 AM | Talia Lionetti

    Adrienne Levatino was appointed by Kreg Allison , the Director of the Division of Real Estate for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, as the Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson as of January 1, 2017.

    The mission of the CCIC Ombudsperson is to provide information to unit owners, condominium and common interest community associations and their respective boards in order that they all may better understand their rights and obligations under the Condominium Property Act and the Common Interest Community Association Act.

    The Role of the Ombudsperson is under the Division of Real Estate for the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation .

    What does the CCIC Ombudsperson do?

    The role is to educate unit owners , associations, and their respective boards. There are two publications available for this purpose provided on the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website.

    The other role is to respond to relevant inquiries by providing educational materials and directing citizens to relevant resources.

    What does the CCIC Ombudsperson not do?

    The Ombudsperson does not provide legal advice or advocate services; The Ombudsperson does not enforce any laws to regulations, including the regulation of registration of profession, associations, companies, or people. The Ombudsperson does not hear, mediate, or resolve issues between unit owners and associations, complaints of discrimination, complaints about community association managers also known as CAMS.

    What has been happening ?

    During the period beginning January 1, 2017 and ending June 11, 2018, the Ombudsperson received 140 written inquiries. Of the persons submitting inquiries, 118 provided his or her address and 136 identified their “status” (attorney, board member, unit owner or “other”). The vast majority of those submitting inquiries (83%) were unit owners, while only 13 (approximately 9%) were individuals who identified themselves as board members. Among those who submitted written inquiries, only 118 (84%) identified the municipality within which they resided. Of these, 39 (33%) lived in an association within the City of Chicago.

    The Ombudsperson was able to identify a specific subject for 128 inquiries. More than onethird of the inquiries raised governance issues—whether a board provided adequate notice of meetings, whether the board improperly conducted business in closed session and other claimed instances of lack of adherence to the Condominium Property Act or an association’s governance documents, for instance. Ten percent of the inquiries, most of which were received shortly following the effective date of the Act, questioned whether or when their association needed to have a written complaint process or whether or when associations were required to register with the Department. The Ombudsperson received nine inquiries concerning deconversion, nine questions relating to the imposition or collection of regular or special assessments, eight inquiries regarding the maintenance or availability of association records and eight questions related to the adoption or enforcement of rules.

    The Ombudsperson role is not a full-time position and the Ombudsperson also serves as the Associate General Counsel in the Department’s Division of Real Estate. The Ombudspersonhas no additional staff. Approximately thirty-five percent of her time is devoted to serving as Ombudsperson.

    The ombudsperson Adrienne M .Levatino’s office is located at 100 West Randolph, 9th floor, Chicago, Ilinois, 6060.1

    The website is http://www.odfpr.com/CCICO/ You may reach her at : 1 (888) 473-4858. 


  • August 28, 2018 10:37 AM | Talia Lionetti

    By: James A. Slowikowski, Dickler, Kahn, Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd. 

    All condominium, master, and community associations have directors and officers, but the roles of directors versus officers are often misunderstood. The officers, while also directors, have distinct, additional functions and duties. Many times there is a mistaken belief that the officers have some decision making authority, but they do not. 

    The directors are elected by the association membership. The board of directors is responsible for the operation and management of the association and all of the property. The directors, as a board, make all of the decisions necessary to operate the association. All decisions must be made by the board at an open board meeting. When a quorum of the board is present, the decisions are made by the vote of a majority of the board members present. Generally, no single director has any legal authority to make decisions for the association. These decisions must be made by the board. In some instances, the board may authorize and direct certain officers or directors, or management, to take a specific action, but the board must have first approved the authorization and direction at the board meeting. 

    The officers of the association are generally elected by the directors, from among the board of directors. The officers do not make decisions, that is the function of the board. The Condominium Property Act and the Common Interest Community Association Act require that each association must have a president, a secretary, and a treasurer. Some bylaws may provide for other officers, such as a vice-president or an assistant secretary. The officers have specific functions which are identified in the Acts and in the bylaws. 

  • August 27, 2018 10:36 AM | Talia Lionetti

    PLAINFIELD, IL – Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction, the leading magazine in the pavement industry with over 30 years of publishing experience, has chosen Maul Paving/Sealcoating/Concrete as one of the nation’s Top Contractors of 2018.

    For over 30 years, Maul has provided paving, concrete, and sealcoating services to businesses of all sizes: from national to local retailers, and industrial to commercial properties.  Their unique mix of expertise and grit makes a strong impression.  Respect for the work and the client is the foundation of everything they do.  As a 2018 Top Contractor, Maul was chosen by the Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction editorial staff for meeting a high set of standards.

    “As a team, we always look forward to announcing the Top Contractors of the year,” stated Amy Schwandt, publisher of Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction magazine.  “The industry segmented lists showcase companies that have put in a lot of hard work to be where they are today.  Congratulations to this year’s winners!”

    Allan Heydorn, editor of Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction commented, “It is a great honor to be awarded the recognition of Top Contractor in the nation.  We received many great entries, all of which show impressive growth moving forward in the industry.”

    With over 30 years of expertise under our belt ourselves, it sure feels good to be named.  Since that summer of ’86, we’ve been working to give people’s ground the Respect it deserves,” remarks Maul President Eric Maul.  “We didn’t get into this business for awards.  But going forward, this great honor is going to strengthen our resolve for Respect.  Here’s to sealing the deal for 30 more years.”

    ##

    About Maul Paving/Sealcoating/Concrete

    For over 30 years, Maul has provided paving, concrete, and sealcoating services to businesses of all sizes: from national to local retailers, and industrial to commercial properties, no job is too big or small.  Your parking lot is your businesses’ first impression, and Maul makes it last.  It’s time your ground gets the Respect it deserves.  For more information visit www.maulasphalt.com.


    About Pavement Maintenance and Reconstruction’s 2018 Top Contractors List

    Additional information on Top Contractors can be found on the 2018 Pavement Top Contractor landing page of ForConstructionPros.com.  Construction professionals can follow pavement news via Twitter and Facebook.


  • July 02, 2018 2:44 PM | Talia Lionetti

    According to a press release from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, as many as 31,000 senior citizens could save a total of $43 million on their property tax bills due August 1, 2018, by applying for exemptions they received in the previous year.

    Those homeowners received the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption last year but have not reapplied, according to an estimate by the Treasurer's Office. Of those seniors, roughly 21,000 received the Senior Freeze Exemption last year but also have not reapplied, Pappas added.

    To verify tax exemptions going back four years, visit cookcountytreasurer.com and:

    • Select the purple box, which says "Your Property Tax Overview"
    • Enter your address or Property Index Number (PIN)
    • Check the results under "Have You Received Your Exemptions in These Tax Years?" 

    State law requires that senior citizens reapply every year for these exemptions, which are available to homeowners who are 65 years of age or older. The Senior Freeze, which prevents increases in the taxable value of a home, is limited to seniors with annual household incomes of $65,000 or less. Some of the homes may no longer be eligible for the exemptions.

    Applications for tax exemptions are available from the Cook County Assessor's Office. If the Assessor's Office grants the application, it will issue an adjusted bill for the Second Installment of Tax Year 2017, due August 1, 2018.


  • July 01, 2018 2:44 PM | Talia Lionetti

    Patricia Bialek , Vice President of First Service Residential , was the speaker on July 11, 2018

    at the Deerfield Public Library, Deerfield , Illinois. The topic was Building a Better Community ,

    How to End Apathy? Upon doing research , Patricia stated that this topic has never been dealt

    with before in a seminar by any organization in the condo world.

    The interested crowd was given a myriad of ideas on how to “pep up” the community.  A power

    point presentation accompanied her energetic presentation.

    Her main points included:

    • Community Apathy is a bad habit.
    • Community members need a “push cultivated by the Association leaders.
    • Survey the community.
    • Employ the community website.
    • Newsletters and establishment of website with unit owners contributions.
    • Constant Communications with unit owners.
    • Establish Committees and Volunteers after points of interest are known through the results of the survey.
    • Tap into the community “beavers”: Those who wish to contribute time.
    • Listen to the suggestions and value each contribution.
    • Have picnics, pool get togethers organized by the committees.
    • Tap into the community interests. Organize clubs of interest. Start traditions.
    • Use the Community Clubhouse for social purposes as well as Association Meetings.

    She gave not only suggestions but concrete examples on how to implement the suggestions.

    Another resource was community businesses, realtors, and local, state and Federal Officials  and involvement into the ACTHA and CAI organizations.

    The attendees walked away energized and eager to implement the ideas Patricia Bialek offered.

    In conclusion one would summarize the plan for community building . Actions bring results. Involvement of all members of the Community is the formula.

    Reaching out to the community is the starting point of success. Using the talents of the community and seeking to value the contributions of the volunteers causes a cycle of involvement. Who wouldn’t want to try out these ideas?

    The ACTHA Board of Directors wants to publicly thank Patricia Bialek for her contributions to ACTHA .


  • May 03, 2018 2:43 PM | Talia Lionetti

    ACTHA wants to give all of their associations the chance to learn more about one another, so this month    we interviewed Tahoe Village Condominium Association in Wheeling! 

    ACTHA: Give a brief description of your subdivision, location, size, type, method of governance, self-managed or Management Company?

    Tahoe Village: We are Tahoe Village Condominium Association located ½ mile south of Dundee Rd. off of Buffalo Grove Rd. in Wheeling, IL.  We are a 435 unit townhome community that is self-managed by the Board of Directors.

    ACTHA: Give a description of your Association Board; number of directors, master, sub-association.

    Tahoe Village: The TVCA BOD is made up of 7 Directors including President, Vice President-Internal Affairs, Vice President-Exterior Modifications, Treasurer, Secretary, Sergeant-at-Arms and Director-Special Projects.

    ACTHA: What does your Board do that makes your Association function smoothly? Name three factors.

    Village Tahoe:

    1)       The Board of Directors treats each homeowner with respect and we are comprehensively consistent with how we handle problems and resolve issues with all of them. 
    2)       We meticulously select vendors and outside contractors and negotiate long term contracts to ensure quality service and advantageous pricing.
    3)       We have a dedicated, professional and efficient Maintenance Staff, and an excellent Office Manager who makes sure all homeowner’s questions are answered to their satisfaction and all paperwork, correspondence and communication is timely and thorough.

    ACTHA: What have you implemented at your Board Meetings that works well during Homeowner Sessions?

    Tahoe Village: Our meetings are well organized and orderly.  If a homeowner has a question or subject they would like to discuss at a meeting, we ask them to fill out a form with their name and topic/question.  At one point during the meeting we have a “Homeowner’s Forum”, where each homeowner that completed a form can present their issue to the BOD for discussion.

    ACTHA: What are your most recent accomplishments? Projects for example.

    Tahoe Village: Our current capital project is a complete roof tear-off and new roof application for all 453 units in Tahoe.  This is being funded completely with reserves and there is no need for a special assessment or loan.  Tahoe Village is an ACTHA Certified Learn & Lead Association, whereby all Directors are Certified Association Community Leaders.  We are also a certified Wheeling Crime Free Multi-Housing community, as well as voted “Best Community” for National Night Out 2009, 2010 and for best theme in 2011-2016.

    ACTHA: What are your challenges in your community you as a Board deal with?

    Tahoe Village: Tahoe Village is a “melting-pot”, with a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural homeowner population from all over the world.  While diversity brings a healthy mixture of customs, music, ideas and practices, it can often times be challenging in an environment where we strive for continuity and consistency in both exterior appearance of our units and grounds, as well as the rules and regulations that govern unit owners’ behavior.  Our challenge is walking the thin line between being homeowner friendly, yet strict and stringent when it comes to exterior home modifications and adherence to association governing documents and rules.

    ACTHA: What do you do for community “buy in”?

    Village Tahoe: Tahoe has two major social events during the year which give the opportunity for homeowners to come out, mingle with their neighbors and get to know each other.  In early August we sponsor the TVCA National Night Out, which last year saw some 300 residents attend an evening of music, food, games and comradery.  During National Night Out, the Board stresses calling 911-Emergency for anyone who sees unknown strangers or witnesses anything unusual that could result in illegal activity in our community.  We offer raffle prizes, fun for the kids, a DJ, pizza, popcorn and ice cream!  Then, at the end of October, we have our annual Halloweenfest with prizes for best costume, music, games, pizza and candy for all.  We also utilize this opportunity to invite an officer from the Wheeling Police Department to talk to the kids about door to door trick or treat security and candy safety.                                                               These events are co-sponsored by our thankful and loyal vendors!

    ACTHA: Name a funny incident that occurred to your Board during a Board Meeting.

    Village Tahoe: A homeowner that was caught sleeping and snoring loudly during a meeting, had a “rude awakening” by the sound of the President’s gavel!

    ACTHA: Tell us about the most rewarding part of your volunteer run.

    Village Tahoe: Constantly working on behalf of each and every homeowner, to improve quality of life, value for our assessment dollar and overall pride of ownership in Tahoe Village.

    ACTHA: What advice would you give new Board members?

    Village Tahoe: Don’t take anything PERSONALLY!

    ACTHA: Who are your most valuable resources? Attorney, Manager, Accountant, Management Company, Community officials, Police, Fire Depts.

    Village Tahoe: Yes--all of the above (minus the Management Company)--as well as our vendors, in-house maintenance staff, board members, concerned residents….and of course…..ACTHA J

    ACTHA: How do you foster harmonious Board relations?

    Village Tahoe: Each Director is always allowed to speak their mind and we don’t judge each other--everyone’s opinion matters and is taken seriously.  In the end, after everything is hashed out--when we decide to take action…it’s as a Board--we present a united front.


  • May 02, 2018 2:42 PM | Talia Lionetti

    By Jim Stoller, President-The Building Group


    Association board members often disagree. As with any type of board, conflicts that escalate can interfere with the ability to function effectively. Just because people cannot agree on all issues, conflicts should never be allowed to get to the point where they stop critical decision making, adversely affect building systems or an owner's property values.

    Not all conflict is bad. Airing disagreements is one way to get various viewpoints on the table, as well as, to examine issues that may otherwise be overlooked and to consider new ways of approaching problems.

    However, when a disagreement turns into a major battle, the productiveness of a board can be destroyed. A conflict can develop to the point where board members become divided-into camps in which each side attempts not only to stop decision making, but to undermine the other side as well. Like a negative political campaign, the attacks often get personal and distort the real issues. Such a situation wastes the time and energy of the board. lt drives good board members to resign and discourages other unit owners from becoming involved for fear of getting caught in fruitless battles.

    A quarrelsome board can also keep the management company from best serving the needs of the property. Consequently, when management encounters conflict, they must try to minimize it and continue to provide a high level of service. Creating an ahnosphere in which owners can reach a consensus is absolutely essential to the process of good management and the ultimate goal of maximizing property values.

    Techniques to encourage a positive, productive environment include: 

    • Establishing specific goals, timetables and priorities;
    • Preventing discussions from becoming personal;
    • Distributing accurate information to all board members and unit owners; 
    • Setting up fact finding committees to obtain information; 
    • Using independent experts to provide technical information.

    Goals and priorities 

    The first job when board members are at odds with each other is to agree upon a specific set of goals and priorities. Board members should list their goals for the association and then vote on them. If major projects are being planned, or board members want to ensure general support, the vote can include all association owners.

    Never let conflicts get personal

    It is easy to get carried away in moments of dispute and bring up personalities and irrelevant information. The more disciplined and business like discussions are at board meetings, the less likely they'Il dissolve into mudslinging about things that are beside the point. If the foyer needs redecorating, keep the discussion to budgets and timetables and choosing a committee, not commentary on who does or doesn't have good decorating taste

    At board meetings, if personal attacks are made (The fire lane is always blocked by your old beater when you unload groceries!), the board president or management company representative must step in and steer the conversation back to the critical issue (The fire lane must always been kept clear for emergency vehicles.). If the parties cannot stick to the real topic at hand, the conversation should be ended. An excellent safeguard is to make all parties aware that personal attacks are not allowed and cannot be used at meetings or in any material distributed to owners.

    Distribute accurate information

    Never withhold data! Two great sources of contention within a group are ignorance and exclusion. If all board members, and under many circumstances, owners in general are not well informed about a specific matter, speculation and poor decision making can follow.

    Furthermore, if any individual feels that they do not have access to the same information as others, they may get the impression that there is an inner group, which knows something that it does not want others to know. Worse, they may conclude that someone on the inside is getting a kick back for using a particular vendor or benefiting in other ways. Make complete and honest information available to everyone so that no one can claim that they have been excluded.

    Fact-finding 

    One way to encourage a genuine sense of collaboration between board members, unit owners and the management company is to create committees to investigate specific issues. For example, when a lobby needs to be redone, a committee can gather information on various designers and prices and present it to the board so that everyone has the same material when making a decision.

    Bring in the experts 

    Board members are very often not qualified to evaluate many aspects of property management, be it selecting a new roof or replacing a boiler. It is therefore important to figure out when to bring in technical specialists, even though this may involve an added expense. Paying a consulting fee today cart often save much more money down the road if an engineer or accountant can provide useful guidance.

    Many times I have heard a board member suggest replacing an old item with the identical product, not realizing that advances in technology often provide better and less expensive alternatives.

    Case in point 

    A loft building had been poorly renovated several years earlier. The developer never properly finished the project and many items still needed attention when the first owners moved in. However, the initial boards and the first management company failed to tackle these problems, which eventually worsened to the point that the city cited the property for code violations.

    The building suffered from the classic board dispute. A few members serving on the association board took it upon themselves to conduct their own investigation of the problems left behind by the developer. They put together their own repair budget and then submitted it to the rest of the board for approval.

    Because the proposal was regarded as the work of only a few, other board members who had not been involved in the process disputed the needs and costs. Word got out to unit owners that one group was attempting to foist their plans on everyone, and the issue exploded throughout the building. At the next board election, the members who had worked hard on this proposal were voted off the board. Ironically, the proposal they had done was sensible and its recommendations ultimately were similar to those used later on.

    It took close to a year after this fateful election to get the property back on track. First, management worked with the board to create both a needs list and a wish list. Management also brought in engineers to review all building systems. Big issues were broken down into smaller more manageable topics and committees were formed to explore various options. All items on these lists were priced and prioritized. A finance committee was also set up to make recommendations on loans or special assessments. Progress reports and other information were distributed, as they became available to every unit owner. Thus, no owner could claim they did not know what was happening at their property.

    Since it was determined a special assessment was required lo pay for the work; all owners had to disclose if they were in the process of selling their unit. The Board asked unit owners to vote on priorities and later to approve the special assessment, which passed with little objection.

    Making decisions and running an Association does not have to be stressful. Keep a clear set of goals that the board has agreed on, encourage all parties to get involved, or at least make information readily available, and never let issues get personal. While conflicts are inevitable, use them positively to create board and ownership consensus. 

  • May 01, 2018 2:42 PM | Talia Lionetti

    ACTHA Seminar March 22, 2018

    Nearly 30 attendees were present at The Do’s and Don’ts of Protecting Association Funds and Reserve Strategies and Investment Planning Seminar held at the Deerfield Public Library , Deerfield, Illinois on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

    The speakers for the evening were Brad Schneider of Condo CPA, Elmhurst, Illinois who spoke on the Do’s and Don’ts of Protecting Association Funds. Brad presented how to protect Association Funds using best practices and how to avoid risk situations. Using a power point presentation, he educated attendees on ways to insure your Association provides safe and sensible habits and best accounting practices in handling Association’s funds.

    Anthony Pacione, financial advisor for Edward Jones, in Schaumburg, Illinois presented the topic Reserve Strategies and Investment Planning. He presented resources to provide and meet long term financial goals through diversification and laddering techniques of your Association’s CD portfolio. He presented a unique program whereby Edward Jones provides a service that offers financial solutions tailor made to your Association providing long term investing while managing the risk factors as well.

    With ample time to address questions, all attendees left with knowledge and the tools to assure their Association unit owners best practices in handling their corporation’s assets.

    ACTHA attendees travelled as far as Tinley Park, Rockford, Evanston, Barrington,  Arlington Heights, Orland Park, and Chicago to attend this Seminar.

    Seminars are planned every month in the North Suburbs with topics of importance to Homeowners and Association Board Members. These seminars are free to ACTHA members and registration is available on the ACTHA website. Look for seminar topics on our Events Calendar for the coming months.

    We welcome newcomers from all areas of the Metropolitan Chicagoland area.


  • September 25, 2017 1:02 PM | Anonymous

    By: Michael C. Kim
    Michael C. Kim & Associates
    ACTHA Legislative Committee Co-Chair
    Chicago

    The 2017 legislative session produced only a handful of new laws that affected community associations (condominium, master and common interest community associations). All bills were signed into law by the Governor and, except for one, take effect on January 1, 2018.

     A summary of the bills (and applicable Section references to the Condo Act or CICA Act) is set forth below:

    HOUSE BILL 189 (now Public Act 100-0292, effective January 1, 2018) amends the Condominium Property Act (“Condo Act”) and the Common Interest Community Association Act (“CICA Act”) as follows:

    BOTH CONDO AND CIC’s

    1. Mortgagee/lienholder deemed consent.  If the declaration/by-laws or other governing documents require approval of a mortgagee or lienholder of record, and if that mortgagee/lienholder receives a request to approve or consent to an amendment to those governing documents, then that mortgagee/lienholder shall be deemed to have approved or consented to the request unless it delivers a negative response to the requesting party within 60 days after mailing of the request by certified mail.
    (Condo Act Sec. 27(a)(ii); CICA Act Sec. 1-20(e))

    2. Requirement to use GAAP.  An association subject to either the CICA Act or the Condo Act and having 100 or more units, must use generally accepted accounting principles when fulfilling any accounting obligations under the CICA Act or Condo Act, as the case may be.
    (Condo Act Sec. 18.10; CICA Act Sec. 1-45(i))

    CONDOS ONLY

    1. Handling Year End Surplus/Deficits.  If at the end of its fiscal year, the association has approved an end-of-year fiscal audit (if applicable), and if the fiscal year ended with a surplus of funds over actual expenses (including budgeted reserve fund contributions), then “to the extent that there are not any contrary provisions” in the association’s declaration/bylaws, the board of directors (managers) has the authority in its discretion to dispose of the surplus in one or more of the following ways;

    (i) contribute the surplus to the reserve fund, (ii) return the surplus to the unit owners as a credit against the remaining monthly assessments for the current fiscal year; (iii) return the surplus to the unit owners in the form of a direct payment to them; or (iv) maintain the funds in the operating account, in which case the funds shall be applied as a credit when calculating the following year’s annual budget. If the fiscal year ends in a deficit, then “to the extent that there are not any contrary provisions” in the association’s declaration/by-laws, the board has the authority in its discretion to address the deficit by incorporating it into the following years’ annual budget. However, if 20% of the unit owners deliver a petition objecting to the board’s action within 30 days after notice to the unit owners of such action, then the board must call a unit owner’s meeting within 30 days of the date of delivery of petition and at that meeting, the unit owners may vote to select “a different option than the option selected by the board.” Unless a majority of the total votes of unit owners are cast at the meeting to reject the board’s selection and select a different option, the board’s decision is ratified (Condo Act Sec. 9c(5))

     2. Sale of entire condo property.  A unit owner who does not vote in favor of such a sale and files a written objection within 20 days after the meeting at which the sale was approved, shall be entitled to receive from the sale proceeds an equivalent to the greater of (i) the value of his/her interest as determined by an appraisal (less the amount of any unpaid assessments or charges due and owing from that owner) or (ii) the outstanding balance of any bona fide debt secured by that owner’s interest which debt was incurred by the owner in the purchase or refinancing of the unit owner’s interest (less the amount of any unpaid assessments or charges due from that owner). The objecting owner is also entitled to receive from the sale proceeds, reimbursement for “reasonable relocation costs, determined in the same  manner as under the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended, and any implementing regulations under the Act. This change applies to any sale that is pending or commenced on or after January  1, 2018. (Condo Act Sec. 15(a) and (b))

    3. Petition for unit owners’ referendum vote on special assessment or budget increase.  The time period for delivery of a petition to the board of directors (managers) is increased from 14 to 21 days. (Condo Act Sec. 18(a)(8)(i))

     

    4. Petition for unit owners’ referendum vote on board of directors’ (managers) adoption of rule for absentee ballot voting to elect directors.  The time period to delivery of a petition to the board is increased from 14 to 30 days. (Condo Act Sec. 18(b)(9)C))

     

    5. Petition for unit owners’ referendum vote on intention to contract with director/director’s immediate family.  The time period for delivery of a petition to the board is increased from 20 to 30 days. (Condo Act Sec. 18(a)(16))

     

    6. Unit Owners list.  Under Section 19 of the Condo Act, a current list of unit owners to be provided to a requesting owner must include e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. (Condo Act Sec. 19(a)(7))

     

    7. Books and records available to Unit Owners under Section 19 of the Condo Act.  Under Section 19 of the Condo Act, a unit owner’s right to inspect/copy books and records is not limited to “books and records of account” but now includes all books and records of the association, including all account records. No “proper purpose” need be given by an owner to inspect or copy contracts, leases or other agreements and the association’s other books and records to the requesting unit owner is reduced from 30 days to 10 “business” days. Failure to make the requested record available within 10 business days shall be deemed a denial by the board. A unit owner’s right to inspect and copy the unit owners’ list (names, addresses, e-mail address, phone numbers and weighted vote) and ballots and proxies for matters voted on by the membership must be for a purpose “that relates to the association” and not for a “commercial purpose” (defined as use for “sale, resale, or solicitation ro advertisement for sales or services”). The association or its management agent “may require the member to certify in writing that the information contained in the records shall not be used by the member for any commercial purpose or for any purpose that does not relate to the association” and for a false certification, the board may impose a fine on the violating unit owner (after notice and opportunity for a hearing). Finally, the charge back of actual costs of retrieving, making available or copying the records, to a requesting unit owner is not mandatory but only permissive. (Condo Act Sec. 19(a)(9), (d-5), (e), and (f))

     

    8. Combinations of units.  It is now made clear that if there is a combination of units (being reflected in a amended plat of survey), then the exclusive use of adjacent common elements to and by that combined unit is expressly permitted. Such exclusive use would be as a limited common element, provided that area in question is “not necessary or practical for use by the owners of any other units.” Such creation of a limited common element does not require unanimous consent of all unit owners or any other percentage requirements in the declaration/by-laws or any amendment under the Condo Act apart from Section 31. (Condo Act Sec. 31(a), (e) and (f))


    HOUSE BILL 3359 (now Public Act 100-0173, effective January 1, 2018) amends the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (and other statutes) to change references to “forcible entry and detainer actions” to “eviction actions” (which is the more commonly understood terminology). The term “eviction” replaces “terminate the right of possession” and “eviction order” replaces “judgment for possession”. In addition, a standardized residential eviction order form is to be determined by the Illinois Supreme Court for statewide use. Overall, no substantive changes are made.

     

    HOUSE BILL 3855 (now Public Act 100-0201, effective August 18, 2017) amends the Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act and the Common Interest Community Association Act by making various stylistic changes and corrections, but no substantive changes.

     

    SENATE BILL 885 (now Public Act 100-0416, effective January 1, 2018) creates a new “Installment Sales Contract Act” , and changes the Condominium Property Act’s reference to “installment contract” to “installment sales contract” (as defined in the new statute); those sections of the Condominium Property Act deal with the ability of contract purchasers to be counted toward a quorum for membership meetings, voting in election of board members and serving on the board of directors (manager), unless such rights are reserved in writing by the contract seller. This change affects condominium and master associations. To determine whether an installment contract qualifies for this treatment, the association needs to check the definition of “installment sales contract” under that new Installment Sales Contract Act. (Condo Act Sec. 18(b)(11) and 18.5(e)(5))

     

    The results (especially in House Bill 189) are quite a mixture of good, bad and mediocre, and obviously a curious sausage produced by the efforts of the House Judiciary Committee.

     

    Upcoming Legislative Dates

    Election Day: Nov. 7

    Veto Session: Oct. 24-26 and Nov. 7-9

     

     

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