Facts: A group of members sued their condo association and a cell phone company to prevent them from installing wireless communication antennas on the roof of the condominium building. The members were concerned that the antennas would cause ill health effects.
The lawsuit challenged a 25-year lease agreement between the board and the company. The members argued that the lease agreement violated the governing documents and asked the court to grant a judgment in their favor without a trial.
Facts: A condo association sued its management company and an insurance broker for breach of contract and negligence. After a rainstorm damaged the community and the association made a timely claim with a proof of loss under the insurance policy obtained by the management company, the association discovered that the community was grossly uninsured. Eventually, the association and the management company reached a settlement in which the company was to pay the association $26,000. At the time, the settlement terms were to include a confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement.
Associations produce audited financial statements so that members, prospective buyers, and lenders can assess an association's financial condition. If an association's finances are mismanaged, prospective buyers may have a difficult time getting loans and may look elsewhere for a home. This ultimately may reduce home values in the community in an already difficult economic climate.
Big changes are coming to broadcast television, and some of your members may have been contacting your management office with questions about the upcoming change. Currently, broadcast stations are broadcasting in both analog and digital. But on Feb. 17, 2009, all full-power broadcast television stations are required to stop broadcasting in analog and continue broadcasting in digital only. This is known as the digital television (DTV) transition.
Facts: A dispute arose between a condo association and a developer after the developer obtained a permit to construct a parking garage adjacent to the condominium building for its commercial property. In its plans, the developer reduced the parking available for association members and did not provide for guest parking, contrary to agreements made when the condo association sold the land to the developer's predecessor. The association sued the developer.
Facts: Unlike other roads in the city, the roads in a subdivision-style condominium development were owned by the association, which hired contractors to maintain them and perform tasks such as snow removal. The association sued the city for denying road services and creating a heavier burden on members than on owners of single-family homes.
Ruling: A Wisconsin district court dismissed the association's lawsuit.
Q My association publishes a community newsletter and hosts a community Web site. I can readily imagine a situation in which a disgruntled member or local business falsely accuses the board of defamation for something that may be published in the newsletter or on the Web site. What are the defenses against defamation lawsuits?
Facts: A member sued his condo association and the management company for injuries he suffered when he slipped on an ice patch. The association had a contract with a snow removal service. The member alleged that because of the negligent removal of snow, several large patches of ice accumulated on the walkway. The trial court dismissed the member's lawsuit because under Illinois law, anyone in charge of residential property is not liable for any personal injuries allegedly caused by a sidewalk's snowy or icy condition unless the person's acts amount to clear wrongdoing.
Q I am the treasurer of a condominium association. I am concerned about how the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act may affect the safety of our association's accounts with banks. Our association collects monthly maintenance payments from members and deposits the funds into three accounts that are used for operating expenses, security deposits, and large-project reserves. Please explain how our accounts might be affected by the act.
There are times when even good planning cannot prevent significant and unforeseen budgetary challenges beyond an association's control. The latter half of this year has seen an increase of foreclosures that are affecting entire communities as members are abandoning homes and leaving dues unpaid. And when associations are short on funds, boards may struggle to juggle costs to prevent members from having to make up all the difference.