A board may require keys for each unit
Q: The board of our condominium recently adopted a rule requiring all owners to provide the association with a copy of their unit key. The rationale for this is that there are frequent pipe leaks in the building that require immediate access to units when residents may not be home. Can the board impose this requirement?
A: Section 18.4(h) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act authorizes a board to "adopt and amend rules and regulations covering the details of the operation and use of the property." The rule adopted by the board, and the use of the keys for the reason described, does not appear unreasonable.
Q: We are a self-managed, five-member board. The secretary, who is to take the minutes, misses a lot of meetings or is slow to produce the minutes. Can the board make someone else the secretary?
A: The board appoints the officers and can remove the officers. The removal of an officer can typically be with or without cause. The association's declaration and bylaws should be reviewed to confirm. However, it appears there would be cause.
While this person would be removed from the office of secretary, they would remain on the board. Once an officer is removed, the board can elect his or her replacement. This all needs to take place at a board meeting.
Q: Three years ago, the board of our association entered into a seven-year contract for maintenance services. That contractor is doing a good job; however, the current board has found a contractor to do the same work for substantially less money. Is there any law that limits the length of contracts that we can use to terminate this agreement?
A: If the contractor is performing under the contract, the board would not be able to terminate the contract without the association being in breach. That would permit the contractor to recover damages from the association.
That said, some association covenants limit the term of a contracts a board can enter into without owner approval. You should review the association's documents for this language. If such language is included, and if the contract in question exceeds that term and was not approved by the owners, the contract would be void.
Q: A friend of mine lives in an association that has a website which includes a chat feature allowing owners to communicate with one another. The association I live in has a website. The website is used by the association to post governing documents and other association-related documents and information. However, the board has voted against including a chat feature. Is the association required to provide owners with a means to communicate with one another, like a chat feature on its website?
A: None of the statutes that govern associations in Illinois require an association to provide owners with a vehicle to communicate with one another. Whether to include a chat feature on the association's website is a business decision of the board. Of course, an owner could establish their own website that includes a chat feature for owners. However, such a website must be clear in stating it is not affiliated with or sponsored by the association.
Q: One of the board members in our condominium association is seriously delinquent in the payment of his assessments. The annual meeting is coming up and this board member is running again. Can he be a candidate if he is delinquent in such payment?
A: In Illinois, ownership of a unit is the only qualification to run for and to serve on the board. A delinquent owner can run for and serve on the condominium board. It's a political issue as to whether owners will reelect such an individual.
• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs. Send questions for the column to him at CondoTalk@ksnlaw.com. The firm provides legal service to condominium, townhouse, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives. This column is not a substitute for consultation with legal counsel.