Month: April 2014
by Jim Slaughter, Esq.
There are more than 320,000 community associations in the United States, according to the Community Associations Institute. Think of all the membership, board, and committee meetings that take place! Since statutes and governing documents often require such meetings to follow certain rules, it’s important for managers and board members to know about parliamentary procedure, which, when used properly, can also serve to streamline meetings and make association life easier and more productive for everyone.
Q: Our condominium’s documents state that members can rent their units for a one-month minimum. Some members believe if they rent for one or two weeks in a month, and they don’t rent for the rest of the month, they’re complying with the documents. But the board and I feel that this is “cheating” the system and renders the restriction—which was put into place because short-term renters seemed to be less serious about respecting members and our building—useless.
Many associations hire lifeguards to reduce the likelihood of accidents at the community pool. But if you hire an unqualified lifeguard, you could increase your liability for accidents. Your association can be held legally responsible if the lifeguard you hire lacks the proper training and somebody drowns or gets hurt in the community’s pool because of the lifeguard’s incompetence.
Facts: An association’s governing documents prohibited the use of homes in the community for commercial purposes. Two homeowners announced their intention to open a drug rehabilitation facility in their own home in the community. They asked the association for a reasonable accommodation, but didn’t specify what kind of accommodation they wanted and didn’t provide any supporting documentation that they were entitled to an accommodation.
Illinois homeowners who are unhappy about their community association cannot stop paying their assessments, according to a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling—a decision applauded by the Community Association Institute (CAI) and its members.
Include in your association’s employee handbook a ban against violent behavior by employees, to head off problems and put your employees on notice that this behavior won't be tolerated and that there will be serious consequences. Tell employees what's unacceptable, and draw a clear line that they may not cross without being fired. Include horseplay as part of prohibited conduct; it's employees' most common defense for unacceptable behavior.
Q: I live in a small condo co-op. When I've seen board members in the building, we've discussed that portions of the balcony outside my unit need to be either repaired or replaced. They've agreed that the association should be responsible for the cost of this and similar repairs to other units in the building. But when I formally asked the association to pay for the repairs, it said that it's my responsibility under the declaration and bylaws.