Loan may require professional management
Q: We live in a 100-plus-unit condominium building that is professionally managed by a third-party management company. The end of the term of the management agreement is approaching. Can the board of directors decide to become self-managed without a vote of the owners?
A: The Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that the board may engage the services of a manager or managing agent. The decision to be professionally managed or to be become self-managed is one that the board can generally make without owner approval.
The decision to become self-managed is very significant and should not be made lightly. Further, if an association is a party to a loan with a lender, the loan documents need to be carefully reviewed before deciding to be self-managed. This is because many loan documents require an association to be professionally managed during the term of the loan.
Q: I made a request to my condominium board for copies of leases for all units being leased in the association. My request was denied. Was that proper?
A: Yes, Unless otherwise directed by court order, an association need not make available for inspection, examination, or copying by its members any documents provided to an association in connection with the lease, sale or other transfer of a unit by a member other than the requesting member.
Q: I just took a look at the deed to my condominium unit that I received several years ago. The deed identifies my unit by its proper unit number as shown in the declaration and on the plat of survey. However, the deed does not refer to my percentage of ownership in the common elements. Is this going to be an issue for me?
A: Section 7 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act addresses this issue. It provides, in part, that every deed may legally describe a unit by its identifying number or symbol as shown on the plat and as set forth in the declaration. Every such description is deemed good and sufficient for all purposes, and shall be deemed to convey and transfer, the owner's corresponding percentage of ownership in the common elements even though the same is not expressly mentioned or described in the deed.
Since the deed properly identified your unit, the deed effectively transferred the unit's corresponding percentage of ownership in the common elements to you.
Q: Can the board of our condominium publish a list of the names of unit owners who are behind in the payment of their assessments?
A: This is not a suggested approach to the collection of assessments. It is not recommended. Publishing the names of delinquent owners is a high risk because it creates liability exposure if the information is not correct. Taking legal action to collect the assessments is a much safer and effective approach.
Q: Can the board of my condominium force me to provide an email address where the association can send me association notices?
A: No, an owner in a condominium cannot be forced to provide an email address where the association can send notices.
In order for the condominium to issue notices to owners by email, two things need to happen. First, the board needs to adopt appropriate rules authorizing electronic delivery of notices and other communications required by law to each unit owner who provides the association with written authorization for electronic delivery and an electronic address to which such communications are to be electronically transmitted. Next, an owner needs to provide the association with written authorization for electronic delivery, and an electronic address to which such communications are to be electronically transmitted. Otherwise, notice must be mailed or delivered in the manner described in the association's declaration.
• 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.