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Windy City Management is a Chicago professional property management firm which provides a wide range of property managment services to Chicago Condominium Associations, Chicago Townhome Associations, Chicago Commercial or retail Property Owners, and Chicago Residential Property Owners
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ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS) OF CHICAGO CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION MEMBERS
What can an Illinois Condominium Association do to collect past due assessments and unpaid unit owner fines?
Illinois law provides strong support for the collection of past due assessments and fines due from unit owners. The Association can record a Notice of Lien with the Recorder of Deeds and if it chooses, can even foreclose the lien in Court, which would allow sale of the owner's equity in his unit. However, Illinois is unique among the states in allowing the Association an even better option.
Under this option, the Association can serve a Notice and Demand for Possession on the Owner, giving the owner 30 days to pay the past due amount. If the owner does not pay in full, the Association can actually sue to evict the owner from possession of the unit, allowing the Association to rent out the unit and use the entire proceeds to pay the past due amounts.
What about the Association's legal fees and Court and related costs of collection?
The Condominium Act specifically provides that the Association may be reimbursed its reasonable attorney fees and court costs from the delinquent unit owner.
Several years ago, our Association adopted a rule prohibiting pets over 25 pounds. One of our owners has just purchased a 65 pound adult German Shepherd dog. What can we do?
The Association has the power to fine an owner who violates its rules. In this case, the Association should notify the owner in writing that the owner has violated the rule, giving a reasonable time for the owner to remove the dog. If the owner does not comply, the Association, through its Board of Managers can assess a daily fine against the owner for continued violation and can even provide that the fine will be increased in amount as time passes; for example $25.00 per day at the outset, increasing to $50.00 per day after a set number of days, and so on. To make sure the fine is enforceable, the Association should give the owner written notice of the fine and the opportunity for a hearing before the Board, if the owner so chooses.
As a second option, the Association can sue the owner, to obtain a court order requiring the removal of the animal.
How does an Association go about adopting rules and regulations?
The Board of Managers of a Condominium Association has the power to adopt reasonable rules and regulations. After consideration, the Board can adopt a set of rules and regulations. The Board must then give the unit owners notice of a meeting of unit owners, at which the rules and regulations are open for discussion among the unit owners. It should be noted that the unit owners are not allowed to vote upon or veto the proposed rules and regulations, only to express their opinions at the meeting. Once the unit owner meeting has been conducted, the rules and regulations may be enacted by the Board.
There is a leak from the roof into my unit which the Association hasn't fixed. Should I withhold my assessments to force a repair?
The answer is no. The Association could sue to evict you for non-payment of assessments and the problem in your unit would not be a defense to the action.
Your recourse in this case is either (i) political, i.e. present your situation to your neighbors and secure their support.or (ii) legal, through the filing of a lawsuit to compel the Association to fulfill its duty to prevent damage to your unit from a defect in part of the common elements of the Condominium.
My condominium association board just approved a new budget, which will increase assessments for my unit by more than 21%. Is there anything I can do?
Yes. The Condominium Act provides that a budget which increases assessments to more than 115% of the previous year may be challenged by unit owners. The procedure to do this is to first obtain signatures of unit owners with at least 20% of the percentage interests in the association on a petition requesting a unit owner vote. This must be accomplished and delivered to the board within two weeks after the board meeting which approved the budget.
If a proper petition is timely submitted, the board is required to call a special unit owners meeting within 30 days. At that meeting, the budget will be submitted to a vote of unit owners. However, if the budget is not rejected by a majority vote at that meeting, it is considered ratified.
The heating boiler serving our entire building completely burned out just before our November board meeting, and there are not sufficient reserve funds to pay for the necessary replacement. What is involved in establishing a special assessment to pay for the replacement of the boiler?
Obviously, the sudden failure of the heating system of a Chicago condominium just prior to the onset of winter represents a true emergency situation. Under these circumstances, the board is authorized by majority vote to invoke a special assessment to pay for the replacement. Further, because the special assessment is for an emergency situation, this special assessment is not subject to unit owner override, even if it is opposed by unit owners with more than 50% of the percentage interests in the common elements.
Contact Chicago Certified Property Manager Marsha Erenberg now at (773) 394-6400, Ext. 2 or on her cell phone (312-841-1012) to discuss how Windy City Mangement can assist your Association in meeting its professional property management needs
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