Page 1






Shoreline Towers Invests in Itself: Buying Up Foreclosures F E AT U R E S

Rent or Own? Commercial Condominiums on the Rise Commonly Asked Questions for Community Associations He Rules Best Who Rules Least: How Rules and Regulations can Benefit Your Community Understanding Common Interest Communities Some Background on Screening

coming next issue:

photos: Rada Architects

400 EAst RAndolph REstoREs 400 club

table of contents COVER STORY


03 shoreline towers invests in itself: Buying up Foreclosures by Pamela Dittmer-McKuen

08 Rent or own? commercial condominiums on the Rise by Robert Sternberg, Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit



06 Before Your Association Buys a unit or several by Pamela Dittmer-McKuen

12 commonly Asked Questions for community Associations by David Mack 16 industry Happenings compiled by Michael Davids and Sherri Iandolo 18 From the editor 19 Directory Advertising M A N A G E M E N T TA L K S

26 He Rules Best Who Rules Least: How Rules and Regulations can Benefit Your community by David Mack BOARD BASICS

29 understanding common interest communities by David Mack BOARD BASICS

32 some Background on screening by David Mack EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

36 mcD Pool Party






For more information, visit our website at

1409 Joliet Road, Lemont, Illinois 60439


conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010Š.



Shoreline Towers Invests in Itself; Buying Up Foreclosures many community associations last year saw their budgets ravaged by global economic woes that launched a vicious cycle of delinquencies, bankruptcies, foreclosures and sinking real estate values.


horeline Towers Condominium, a lakefront property in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, is among them. But instead of taking it in the pocketbook, the board decided to meet the market head-on: Shoreline Towers is investing in itself. In September of 2009, the association passed an innovative resolution that allows the board to purchase up to eight foreclosed units in the next two years. They will rent them out until market conditions improve.

The first four are closed and occupied. “We couldn’t sit around and just watch our values decline without taking some remedial action,” said board president Dr. Edward J. Frischholz. The initiative has been the focus of articles published in both USA Today and the Chicago Tribune.

History & Background Shoreline Towers, 6301 N. Sheridan Road, is a 25-story building with 378 units. It

was built in 1961 as apartments and converted to condominiums in 1978. Among its amenities are heated underground parking, exercise room and 24-hour security. The association is managed by Wolin-Levin, Inc., with Sharon Schingoethe serving as supervising property manager, Andrew Quinn as on-site property manager and Susan Hernandez as assistant property manager. Dr. Edward J. Frischholz is president of the 7-member board and David Hartwell of Penland/Hartwell LLC is the association attorney. Shoreline Towers enjoyed a long history of strong fiscal management and only rarely experienced a foreclosure. Early in 2009 foreclosures became more and more frequent, and those owners became delinquent in paying their assessments. The board took steps to curtail the money drain: One was to require



Free Energy Audit & Analysis


Significant Financial Savings


Reduce Energy Usage Environmental Stewardship


Hillcrest Property Management

Energy Efficient Lighting | Electrical Supplies & Appliances

Energy Efficient Lighting with Simple Payback Programs

3 Offices in Chicagoland to serve you more conveniently






847.239.7172 FAX | No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.





conDo LiFestYLes



all owners to send their assessments directly to the association’s bank rather than dropping them off at the management office, which sometimes took 10 days to manually process the payments. The late fee is $75. The association also employed the Illinois Forcible Entry and Detainer law to take possession of several units before foreclosure was complete, and repair and rent them out to recoup some of the money owed before the lenders took over.

Dramatic Market Price Drop By spring, the situation had grown darker. The lender for the foreclosed Unit 5G had a sales contract for $82,000. But the G units, historically, sold for an average price of $157,277 during the four-year period between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008. Unit 5G had sold for $159,000 in January 2007. But that wasn’t all. Overall, 2009 selling prices were down $15,000 to $44,000, depending on the unit. And with a dozen or so units in foreclosure and assessments an average of $500, the association was losing about $6,000 a month. “Lenders are ending up with a tremendous amount of property they don’t want, and

owning a condo unit has carrying costs in terms of monthly assessments and taxes,” Hartwell explained. “Three years ago banks were happy to go to auction and bid the amount of their judgments. Now that so many of these units have little or no equity and many are upside down, the auction isn’t presenting a good mechanism for banks to get rid of these properties. As a result, banks are bidding substantially less than their judgments. The range of 25 cents to 40 cents on the dollar is becoming common. The next thing is large investor groups determined this is a good area to get into and started buying units at this greatly reduced rate.”

Artificial Drop The low prices become the new comparables against which individual owners try to sell or refinance their units or take out home equity loans. “It creates an artificial drop in the market,” he said.

Board Action Ten units had been foreclosed by June. The board decided to take action. First, it exercised its right of first refusal to halt the

sale of 5G. It also, after conducting extensive market research and consulting with legal and financial professionals, came up with the idea to buy not only 5G but even more units. In essence, they would invest in themselves. The ultimate goal is for the units to be sold at a profit. In the meantime, as rentals, they are enhancing the association’s income stream.

Owner Approval To make that happen, the board needed unit owner approval. The Illinois Condominium Property Act requires a 2/3rd majority approval to buy real estate, although some declarations have higher thresholds. The board presented its findings and rationale at informational meetings, sent letters, made telephone calls and solicited proxies. On September 3, with 72.6 percent of the vote in, 68.7 percent were in favor. The resolution had passed. The first four units—including 5G— were selected, ranging in price from $80,000 to $109,900. A few weeks later, Harris Bank approved a $2.4 million loan to cover the purchases and some building renovation projects. continued on page 6

Property management services for Chicago’s finest high rise residential properties. Community Specialists 680 N. Lake Shore Drive, Suite 1326, Chicago IL 60611

312.337.8691 4

conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010Š.


conDo LiFestYLes




from page 4

Rental Income Short term, Shoreline Towers isn’t raising anyone’s property value. The board is well aware of that. But the rental income is more than enough to cover the mortgage, taxes, assessments and other expenses. The association is building real estate equity, which only makes for a healthier balance sheet. And that benefits all the owners. “We know there is no way we could affect an entire market by this specific action,” said Dr. Frischholtz. “But we would profit from this specific action even in a bad market.” Y

n association might consider buying one or more of its units for a variety of reasons, including investment or to create additional common space, a management office or engineer’s living quarters. Depending on the circumstances, it can turn out to be a sound and profitable business decision—or downright disastrous. “it’s not something people should jump into,” said association attorney David Hartwell of chicago-based Penland/Hartwell LLc, who provided legal counsel to the shoreline towers condominium purchase plan. “in my opinion, the percentage of associations this is a good deal for is very small.” Hartwell added that if the numbers work and the deal makes sense, current market prices are very favorable. Just don’t think you can turn it around for a profit anytime soon. those days are over. before your association gets into the real estate business, consider the following: » You need owner approval. The Illinois Condominium Property Act requires a 2/3rds majority to buy real estate, whether the association is exercising its right of first refusal or making a purchase on the open market. Some declarations have even higher minimums. “It’s a very high threshold to achieve,” said Hartwell. “Proxies are good in Illinois for 11 months, but people don’t show up at meetings and don’t send in their proxies. You have to have a group of dedicated volunteers to go door-

Quality Craft, inc.

Proudly Serving the Property Management Community for Over 30 Years

• 24/7 • Fire and Smoke • Water • Storm • Reconstruction • Remodeling


( P )) )


Call to learn more about QCi’s Early Response Program and Disaster Planning Assistance

866.832.6724 6

conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


OCIATION BUYS A UNIT—OR SEVERAL knocking to get them.” “If we’re talking about the right of first refusal, the window—which is usually 30 days—is too short to let most associations get unit owner approval,” said association attorney David Sugar of Arnstein & Lehr. » How will you finance the purchase? The obvious sources are special assessment, reserve funds and bank loans. Owners may balk at a special assessment, and banks want clients who aren’t desperate. Shoreline Towers’ assets included $500,000 in reserves and more than $4 million in real estate equity. “some declarations have qualifications on the use of reserve funds,” said association attorney Howard Dakoff of Levenfeld Pearlstein LLc. “if a board uses reserve funds for any other purpose, it could be construed as a breach of fiduciary duty.” » Are you ready to be a landlord? Shoreline Towers has previous investment experience with two rental units, one that came up when the association bought a larger unit for its engineer and an earlier foreclosure. Both have been rented successfully for several years. Before buying four more foreclosure units this fall, the board inspected all the units in foreclosure and selected those that did not need extensive rehabilitation.

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.

“one of the things that was helpful to shoreline towers is their proximity to Loyola university, where they enjoy a fairly robust rental market,” said Hartwell. “the idea of more rentals in a building is something many associations are not supportive of,” said sugar. “if you get bad renters, you can evict them but there are legal fees,” said Dakoff. » Do the numbers work? There’s a lot more to think about than just the selling price. If you hold the property, the association is responsible for the real estate taxes, assessments, insurance and mortgage payments. If you sell, you’ll pay real estate agent commission and transfer taxes. If you sell at a profit, you’ll pay taxes on the increased value. “I’m troubled by the association’s fiduciary duty with respect to association’s dollars,” said Sugar. “We would not let a board take association money and invest in a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). Why would we let a board take association money and invest it in a unit in the building and expose it to risk? What if the bottom drops out and the association can’t sell it at a fair price? What will the owners say then?” “For most properties, buying real estate probably doesn’t make sense,” said Dakoff. “The risks and potential pitfalls outweigh the benefits. But under the right set of circumstances, it may be a sound business decision.”


conDo LiFestYLes





Commercial Condominiums on the Rise

the concept of condominiums in illinois was first authorized in 1963 with the passage of the illinois condominium Property Act. subsequently, during the 1970’s a great boom in residential condominium development ensued — both sales and re-sales — that continued with ups and downs into the new millennium.


hile the drafters of the Act were focused on residential condominiums when writing this legislation, the Act applies to any type of real property. In the last several years, developers and owners have recognized that many of the advantages of owning a residential condominium unit also can be applied to a commercial condominium unit. Commercial condominiums may be in single-use buildings that are either office,

industrial, or retail. They may also be in mixed-use or multiple-use buildings, including office/industrial, office/retail, residential/retail, residential/office, and other combinations. As with residential condominiums, commercial condominiums can be either new construction or conversions of existing structures.

Advantages of Owning A business owner considering whether to lease a place of business or purchase a condominium unit should consider the following advantages of owning rather than leasing. » First, ownership will give the business owner the opportunity to build equity when making monthly payments, instead of having all the monthly lease payments go to the landlord. » Second, a condominium owner has tax benefits relating to depreciation of the property, which a tenant cannot take advantage of. » Third, ownership of the unit gives the business owner better control of occupancy costs. While the unit owner cannot totally control increases in real estate taxes and condominium assessments, the larger part of monthly payments are in the control of the unit owner. » Fourth, a business owner may be able to purchase a unit in a building or complex

Check out a Property Management Company with Values. Property Management Specialist, LTD. “A Management Company with Values” P.O. Box 1215 • Barrington IL 60011 • Phone: 847-845-6067 •

Let us go k for You! to wor


conDo LiFestYLes


James T. Krech

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


with similar or complementary businesses that could enhance business opportunities. * For instance, a car transmission repair business could be located in a strip of condominium units with other businesses that provide other services to car owners. * Similarly, physicians with different (often complementary) types of medical practices could all be located in the same office building, each owning a separate condominium unit. Many not-for-profit entities can enjoy additional savings by purchasing a condominium for their businesses rather than leasing. These entities can be exempt from real estate taxation. When leasing from a landlord, a not-for-profit cannot take advantage of this exemption; but if the entity owns the real property directly by owning a condominium unit, the entity can realize the real estate tax savings … which could be substantial.

Not For Everyone On the other hand, some people do not favor commercial condominiums for the fol-

lowing reasons: » The owner is not in total control of the expenses associated with the property. » The association that controls the property as a whole can impose rules and regulations, which may impede the owner’s ability to do business. » If the business outgrows the condominium unit, the owner may be forced to sell the unit in an unfavorable market. When purchasing a commercial condominium unit, business owners need to pay close attention to the structure of the entity used to purchase the unit. Considerations should be the same as when a business buys an entire building. Business owners should consider setting up a separate limited liability company whose members will be the same individuals who are shareholders of the operating company of the business. There are two primary reasons to use this structure. » First, it will protect the equity in the condominium unit from the claims of the creditors of the operating company. » Second, there are tax disadvantages to holding real estate in a corporate entity, which one can avoid by holding title in a limited liability company.

Financing Most purchasers of commercial condominium units will need to obtain financing. Not all lenders are knowledgeable or interested in providing mortgages for commercial units. So, a purchaser should spend some time at the outset talking to a number of different lenders to find one that has experience in lending to commercial condominium unit owners. Some lenders will finance the purchase of a commercial unit on terms similar to the terms for financing the purchase of an entire building, while other lenders may use more strict underwriting criteria in evaluating whether to make a loan. The more cautious lenders are concerned about the perceived risk that other unit owners will not pay their assessments, which cover their fair share of common area expenses. Such lenders also may question the marketability of the unit in the event of a default, since they believe that there is a smaller market for these units than for a single-user building.

Consider Marketability & Restrictions The purchaser of a unit also should be

Brick Restoration Contractors Specializing in » 820 South Damen » 1557 W. Diversey Parkway Chicago, Illinois 60614 773-732-3051 Phone 773-871-0212 Phone 773-935-6557 Fax

Leak Repairs

» Leak Survey and Repairs 5014 N. Oakley »

» Concrete Restoration 444 W. Fullerton »

» Tuck Pointing Miscellaneous Repairs 6249 N. Sheridan »

» Concrete Block (CMU) Sealing 627 W. Briar »

Call or email us for a free estimate. No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes



concerned with the unit’s marketability, particularly if the purchaser’s business is likely to grow in a short period of time. If the business needs to move to another property, and the unit owner cannot quickly sell the unit, the owner may need to lease the unit to another business. So, the purchaser should carefully review the condominium documents to discover if there are any restrictions on leasing the unit. Also, the purchaser should review the condominium documents, as well as applicable governmental zoning requirements, to identify any restrictions placed on the permitted uses of the property. Any such use restrictions also could impact the marketability of the unit, when selling or leasing the unit. Some other issues that a purchaser should consider when buying a unit are: » Parking: The purchaser needs to determine whether the unit has any deeded parking or limited common element parking, and, if not, what parking rights the purchaser and its employees have. For those properties which have limited common element parking spaces, a purchaser should inquire as to the fees or


conDo LiFestYLes

chargebacks that are associated with these parking spaces. Also, the purchaser needs to find out what parking is available for clients or customers. » Common area expenses: As part of due diligence, the purchaser should find out what the common area expenses are and if the association’s budget seems reasonable to cover those expenses. » Reserves: The purchaser should also identify what reserves the association maintains to cover unbudgeted items, which may include capital items such as repairs and replacement of roads, driveways, and any shared HVAC equipment that are common elements. » Technology: The purchaser should inquire about various technology issues, such as the availability of T-1 lines and satellite dish installation rights. » Loading Docks: For many businesses loading docks are critical, particularly for industrial and retail properties. A purchaser should identify what loading dock rights are available for its use. » HVAC Equipment: Many commercial properties have the HVAC Equipment for each unit located on the limited common elements of the building. A purchaser


should identify what the rights and obligations of the unit owners are with regard to these limited common elements. » Signage: Since signage is important in commercial settings, a purchaser should determine all signage rights and obligations. » Access: In many commercial properties vehicular access rights may be an issue. A purchaser should find out how employees, customers, and clients can get from a particular street to the building where the unit is located. » Easements: A purchaser also needs to know if the other unit owners in the building have access easement rights over adjoining property, and if the owners of adjoining properties may have access easement rights over the property where the purchaser’s unit is located.

Developer Issues Developers of commercial condominium buildings are attracted to the condominium structure for many of the same reasons as developers of residential condominium buildings. Whether projects are new construction or conversions of existing buildings, devel-

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


opers have determined that: » They can make more money by selling the units than by leasing them, or » They can make more money by selling the units than by selling the entire building in which the units are contained. When developing commercial condominium buildings, developers should be sensitive to the issues that concern purchasers in addition to all of the routine matters that developers ordinarily consider in constructing new buildings or converting existing buildings. It is of utmost importance that developers consult with an attorney who is well versed in the Illinois Condominium Property Act and how it applies in the commercial setting. When developers are converting commercial buildings to condominiums, they should also consider the rights of the existing tenants in the buildings. These rights, which include a right of first refusal, are contained in the Act.

Increasing Trend As the economy in general makes its

Shown here is Charles Place Office & Retail Condominiums in Downers Grove.

recovery, the commercial real estate industry will be a strong and important part of that recovery. One national commercial real estate firm reports that commercial condominium sales in the Chicago area for 2009 approached $80 million. With the many advantages of

condominium ownership for various businesses, one can expect that there will be an increased trend in business owners choosing to buy commercial condominiums rather than leasing their places of business. Y

111 E. Wacker Drive • Suite 1412 Chicago, Illinois 60601-4501


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes




commonly Asked Questions for community Associations

Below are more questions from our readers along with answers and resources that we hope you find useful. Readers are encouraged to submit their queries to for response in a future issue. These answers we provide, however, are not formal legal opinions and readers should consult their attorneys for specific advice on their situations no matter how similar to those portrayed here.

I am on the condo board in a building with over 200 units. They fine people here without having a hearing before the board. The President or property manager makes the decisions regarding fines. I say it’s illegal. They say it’s OK and that when they passed out the fine schedule that constituted notice. What the board is doing is not correct under the Illinois Condominium Act- specifically Section 18.4(l) under Powers and Duties of the Board of Managers. This part of the law states, “… and after notice and an opportunity to be heard, to levy reasonable fines for violations of the declaration, by-laws and rules and regulations of the association.” Further, to give notice means specifically notifying someone that they have violated the governing documents or rules and providing them the opportunity to attend a hearing to determine if any fine will be imposed. That ultimately is the decision of the board.

Almost 30 years ago when our association was first formed, the initial board had to get 2/3 of the unit owners to agree to hire a management company. I can’t find anything that addresses firing a management company and becoming self-managed. Would this action need approval of 2/3 of the unit owners or can a board on its own decide to fire a management company and become self-managed? If you’ve checked your governing documents and found nothing dealing with any requirement for hiring or firing a management company, then termination would be governed by the contract with the agent. Most contracts contain a provision for contract termination


conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


with or without cause and that is what you must follow. The board does not need to obtain the approval of the unit owners for either this action or the act of switching to selfmanagement as long as there is nothing in the governing documents requiring their assent. Remember, though, that self-management will mean more work for the board members, which is part of the trade off for saving management fees. Good management companies also offer many other resources, experience and expertise.

Our current board is made up of only three people instead of the five we are supposed to have. One of the board members is often out of town on the dates of the board meetings. Our by-laws state that three members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business. Can the board still meet with two members and is anything they decide valid with only two members voting?

Our board wants to apply for a loan for repairs and improvements to the common elements. Will this action require the approval of the unit owners?

There has to be a quorum to conduct official business and if your by-laws set three as the quorum, then unless they are amended, three members have to be present to validate any action taken. Proxies can’t be used to either establish the quorum or to transact business. However, if the by-laws or your articles of incorporation do not prohibit it, a board member could be connected to the board meeting by phone or other electronic means and be counted toward the quorum as well as participate in the proceedings and vote. All board members would have to be able to communicate with the absent member via these means. Any votes taken without the quorum would be invalid.

Only if the condominium governing documents require that approval. If they do not, Section 18.4(m) of the Condominium Act provides that by a majority vote of the entire board of managers the right of the association to future income can be assigned to a lender. It is that assignment of assessments and other forms of income that would be the guarantee of repayment of such a loan.

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010Š.


I am treasurer of a 7-unit condo conversion, consisting of two buildings. The owner of an adjacent property is seeking a zoning change that will create a zero lot line with one of our buildings. Two units will lose their views- they now look over a back yard. The owners of these units want the association to hire an attorney to block the zoning change. They have also expressed concerns about potential damage to the building’s foundation. Upon review of the by-laws, it does not appear that the association has any responsibility in this area. The majority of the unit owners do not wish for the association to become involved. In fact, several consider the property next door an eye sore and want it developed. The association is low on reserves after some major projects over the past few years. The unit owner who will be most affected by the building next store is currently withholding payment of

conDo LiFestYLes



his assessments until the association agrees to pay for the attorney. Does the association have any responsibility to oppose the zoning change? This is becoming a volatile issue. You didn’t indicate what municipality your association is located in but all have some form of public hearing in connection with zoning changes, usually before both a zoning commission or planning board and the city council. It shouldn’t be necessary, at least at first, to have an attorney appear to argue against the variation or to force at least some changes in the redevelopment plan to alleviate some of its disturbing consequences as initially conceived. Representatives from the association- board members as well as the owners of the two units most impacted- can testify as to the real or potential adverse effects. If the new building will truly adversely affect the view of two owners, shouldn’t others take up the cause with them since as a small association everybody should be pulling together and not only when everyone’s interests are at stake. Keep in mind that while the view of other owners might not be impaired, any

incompatible use next door might affect the value of all the units when they are put on the market for resale. The owner of the adjacent property may be able to make accommodations in his plan for the two owners in your building and, in fact, might have to if the municipality requires it after hearing testimony from your association. Not being an attorney, I can’t give you a definitive answer as to whether the association has any legal obligation to protest the zoning change but I don’t know of anything in the Illinois Condominium Act that would explicitly require it. Section 18.4(a) does give the board of directors the duty to care for the common elements and to the extent that the proposed building would materially impact your property’s common elements, the board would appear to have a responsibility to act to attempt to prevent that from happening regardless of the issue of the view of the two owners. The one unit owner is not legally entitled to withhold the payment of assessments and the board has the right to pursue whatever action is necessary to compel payment. You should notify the owner of that fact and follow through on collection by legal means afforded to the Association.

A group of us are ready to challenge the board at the annual meeting. We have five people who are willing to run. Can we type up our own proxies with just our five names on them and distribute them to the other owners with a position statement or do we have to wait until the board issues its official proxy with the names of everyone else who is running? According to Section 18(a) (18) of the Illinois Condominium Act any proxy form distributed, “by the board of managers gives unit owners the opportunity to express a preference for any of the known candidates for the board or to write in a name.” Some language similar to that should be in your by-laws. Note that it states, “by the board of managers,” which presumably means that only the board should be the source of the proxy form. Nothing is stated about any proxy form provided by anyone else. Note also that in Section 18(b)(9)(A) it is said that an owner may vote by proxy executed in writing by the owner or by his/her attorney in fact and that the proxy must bear the date of execution and unless otherwise provided for in

How do you increase your property values while saving money? Coder Taylor assoCiaTes. iNC. LICENSED ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS CODER TAYLOR ASSOCIATES, INC.

Saves you money by designing proper specifications. Through research and engineering, we assist you in hiring qualified contractors & ensuring that their performance is up to the associations’ expectations.


847-382-4100 TELEPHONE

847-382-4104 FAX


Helps you prepare for future maintenance expenses by preparing a reserve study that lets you know when repairs will be needed.

Helps you take a proactive approach in protecting the value of your property from your pavement to your roof tops.

conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


the governing documents is valid for eleven months after execution. Once again, similar language should be in your by-laws. Now putting all that together, it would seem to be mandatory that the proxy form should be distributed by the board, contain names of all candidates running for the board for whom to vote the proxy-not just those in your groupand to have a space to write in other names that do not appear on the form. Space should also be provided for date and signature of the proxy giver. So to assure that any proxies are not disallowed or challenged because they are not from the board, I would urge you to not use your own proxy format. I assume that your association can use proxies because it has not adopted a rule providing for mail-in ballots according to Section 18(b) (9) (B). If it has, then proxies are not permitted at all and voting must either be done in person or through the mail. Whether proxies can be used or not, the best way to turn out the vote is to get the supporters of your group to appear at the annual meeting.

I am in a six-unit association and one of the owners is in foreclosure. He owes us over $3000 for his portion of a special assessment to repair our roofs. We have an attorney and are filing lien papers against this owner. We have a serious cash flow problem and have other repairs to do. We are wondering if we can secure a line of credit from a bank to give us a little breathing room until we get something resolved with the defaulting unit owner? Do you know if a bank will open a line of

credit for an association? Or are we reduced to having one member take out a personal loan? We have already raised our assessment by $50 per month to try and offset the lack of assessments from the defaulter. He’s not our only problem with non-payment. A number of banks do make loans to associations but they have specific credit standards and generally loans are used to fund capital improvements. However, they may also provide lines of credit for other purposes. But one thing they all seem to require is that an association has some amount of money in its reserve account. I don’t know if you will be eligible. The most important consideration is an association’s ability to repay the loan. You will have to

more than likely assign your right to future income to the lender. You can contact the banks listed in the directory section of this publication (and on and other banks. You certainly should check with them to learn their lending standards and how likely you are to be eligible. Regarding the lien papers against the owner, I don’t believe a lien would be honored as the result of foreclosure when the lender takes possession. Your attorney can advise you on that point. And if you already don’t, make sure that unless there are compelling circumstances not to do so, when an account becomes sixty days delinquent turn it over to your attorney for legal action.

Dickler, Kahn, Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd. ~ concentrating in ~

Condo & HOA Representation Corporate • Real Estate • Litigation • Wills Personal Injury 85 W. Algonquin Rd., Ste #420, Arlington Heights, IL 60005

847-593-5595 No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes



CSR Roofing csR Roofing contractors inc. celebrates its 30 year anniversary in 2010. the company attributes success to a customer first approach, listening to the needs of the client and providing uncompromised service. All coupled with the ability, knowledge and experience to install, service and maintain every type of flat and steep slope roof systems.

Wolin-Levin, Inc. Wolin-Levin, inc. recently announced that stephen m. curran has been named Director of engineering services. mr. curran is a licensed stationary engineer with over 20 years of experience inspecting, repairing and maintaining a full range of industrial systems. He has competencies in electrical, mechanical, structural, plumbing, pools and carpentry including diagnostic and troubleshooting. stephen has served as chief engineer of several prominent chicago hi-rises prior to joining Wolin-Levin, inc. Wolin-Levin,inc. is pleased to announce Laura Knepper has joined our staff as a Property manager responsible for several properties.  Laura has a BBA from the university of Wisconsin-madison in real estate.  Formerly Laura worked with a boutique multi-family development firm in chicago providing due diligence, financial analysis and property management.  she also has experience in market analysis for office and indoor water

park development.   semi Lakhani has recently joined Wolin-Levin as the Director of Human Resources.  ms. Lakhani has over five years of human resource experience most recently with a global security company as the Human Resource manager.  ms. Lakhani received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business management and Human Resources from indiana university, Bloomington.  she is an active member of several professional associations, including sHRm (the society of Human Resource management) and is currently pursuing her Professional Human Resource (PHR) certification.    Jeffrey nowlin has been promoted to Property manager from within Wolin-Levin.  Jeffrey worked for several real estate developers and @Properties prior to joining Wolin-Levin.  Jeffrey is also a licensed real estate sales agent.

Vanguard Community Management Vanguard community management (Vcm), an Associa company, proudly announces gina Rossi as the new marketing Director. As the marketing Director, ms. Rossi will be responsible for developing new client relationships and maintaining current client relations. ms. Rossi will also manage daily operations for several community associations. 12 years of community management experience, maintains the highest professional designation, Professional community Association manager (PcAm) from community Associations institute (cAi) and was named the cAi 2005 Property manager of the Year.. ms. Rossi rejoins Vanguard community management with a renewed commitment and dedication to the greater chicago area community associations.

management industry,” said gina Rossi. “i look forward to meeting new clients and continuing to build upon the great working relationship Vanguard has with current clients.” “We welcome gina back to Vanguard,” said michael Dorociak, President and ceo of Vanguard community management. “gina’s skills and experience in the community association management industry make her the ideal candidate for marketing Vanguard management services.” since 1976, Vanguard community management has been providing community association management and developer consulting services to the greater chicago area. Vcm’s sole focus is providing exceptional customer service, management and accounting services.

“i am pleased to be rejoining a leader in the community

We would also like to announce that csR Roofing contractors inc. has been awarded the prestige’s ‘Partners club’ award from sika sarnafil, in recognition of technical competency, excellent performance history and quality installation of sika sarnafil roofing systems. this award inducts csR into a select group of roofing applicators.

The Habitat Company Habitat recently unveiled the Habitat company stewardship Program. the overarching goal of the program is to cultivate and strengthen relationships with condominium associations and their board members. the stewardship Program allows Habitat the opportunity to conduct one-on-one sessions with board members on a regular basis. this type of dialog ensures that they are managing board expectations with regard to the services they provide as well as each board’s overall vision. According to Diane White, senior Vice President and Director of condominium management “our team is committed to providing owners with unmatched responsiveness and support to create an exceptional home environment. We strive to maintain a collaborative relationship and foster open channels of communication. our stewardship Program lays the ground work for board members to be informed, engaged and successful.”

s Diane White

White further explained, “our goal is to develop true partnerships with the associations that we manage. the stewardship Program enables us to be proactive and more importantly position ourselves in front of potential challenges to ensure a smooth transition. this allows us to provide the level of service that our clients expect and deserve. our approach to management also allows property managers and supervisors the freedom to focus their attention on meeting the needs of owners and residents. the Habitat company provides board members with the ability to focus on their fiduciary responsibilities in their role as leaders of their associations and leave the management of the communities to us.”

Lake Point Tower 40th Anniversary Lake Point tower marked its fortieth year anniversary on october 3, 2009 with a gathering of over 300 owners, dignitaries and guests. Featured speakers included property developer William Hartnett of Hartnett-shaw, Alderman Brendan Reilly of chicago’s 42nd Ward, george schipporeit, co-designer of the building, Alice merz, widow of John Heinrich, the other co-designer of the building, LPt book author and architect ed Windhorst. Paul LeRoux, who served as chairperson of LPt’s 40th anniversary commission presented recognition awards to board president Patricia spears and building manager John Derby of the Habitat company.


conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.



DIVERSEY HARBOR REPORTS LIFE SAFETY COMPLIANCE With executive Director gene Fisher presiding, and the leadership of neighborhood condo associations the attending delegates, the Diversey Harbor Lakeview Association’s Winter meeting on march 4 addressed a broad spectrum of key issues that ranged from condominium operating factors, to matters of concern in the community. condominium operations A review of preparations to comply with the Life safety ordinance demonstrated that a strong and active response is well under way. some buildings have already completed all of their necessary updates, and most of the others reported that significant progress has already been achieved. the delegates endorsed the Building Department’s revised regulations for facade maintenance, which will make the process more cost efficient without compromising the public’s safety. the response was also favorable to the recently extended deadline for the installation of required communications systems. A discussion of the economy’s impact upon neighborhood condominium operations determined that the delinquencies in assessment payments which had been encountered were relatively few in number, and that the associations’ vigilance was keeping the situation well under control. the consensus view was that the number of condo rentals had been increasing, largely because condo owners who were finding it difficult to sell their properties in today’s market had resorted to rentals as a stopgap source of revenue.

community Issues A review of the status of the 2520 Lakeview (columbus Hospital) project reported that it was being observant of the governing Agreement which Diversey Harbor had negotiated on  the community’s behalf, as work proceeds on the below-grade portion of the project. now that the installation of caissons has been completed, the start of excavation operations means shorter work days, as specified in the community Agreement. there has been no reported change in the developer’s earlier statement that financing has been secured only for the below-grade work, so that the timing for construction of the building itself continues to be uncertain. the delegates expressed a number of concerns over the lack of maintenance of the neighborhood’s infrastructure, citing such specific problems as streets with dangerous potholes, the deterioration of certain alley surfaces and sewers that were not draining. traffic-related issues were also raised, such as the need for enforcement to protect pedestrian safety by discouraging motorists’ frequent disregard of crosswalk markings, and the needed parking spaces lost by designating cannon Drive as a snow route.

David m. Bendoff, John H. Bickley, Richard W. Hillsberg, Robert P. nesbit, Jordan i. shifrin, Diane J. silverberg, gerald J. smoller, Robert A. sternberg, and Pia n. thompson of Kovitz shifrin nesbit have been named by illinois super Lawyers magazine as being among of the top attorneys in illinois for 2010. only five percent of the lawyers in the state are named by super Lawyers. in addition, Julie Jacobson, mike Kreibich, and Ryan shpritz of Kovitz shifrin nesbit have been selected to the 2010 illinois Rising stars list. the selections for super Lawyers are made by Law & Politics, a division of Key Professional media, inc. of minneapolis, minnesota. each year, Law & Politics undertakes a rigorous multi-phase selection process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, independent evaluation of candidates by Law & Politics’ attorney-led research staff, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a goodstanding and disciplinary check.

strong approvals were expressed for Diversey Harbor’s continuing community outreach, and its ongoing efforts to build a stronger community presence by forming alliances with such leadership organizations as the Lincoln Park chamber of commerce, and the community relations committees of st. Joseph and children’s memorial hospitals.


Over 75,000 Homes Roofed Since 1963 Specializing in Single & Multi-Family: Q tear offs

Q gutters - siding

Q flat roofs

Q repairs

Q shingles

Q soffit & fascia

The Roofing Company That Delivers Superior Service Time and Time Again. S&D IS A LICENSED FIRESTONE RED SHIELD CONTRACTOR

OWENS CORNING Platinum Preferred Contractor

r Call Fo E E FR e Estimat

Complete Roofing Service • Bonded & Insured


Ask For free video

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes



From the Editor


ith the return of warmer temperatures, many types of ex-

terior maintenance, repair, and restoration projects typically take center stage at community associations across


chicagoland. most associations are struggling with financial challenges of our down ®

s Mike Davids

economy and a depressed real estate market. many are also struggling with how to pay for necessary capital improvement projects ranging from life safety and fire protection to building restoration and renovation. it’s not easy to set priorities and make decisions on what to do when, and for how much. But in the end, you have to do what

APRIL 2010 | VOLUME 14 | NUMBER 1 Editor & Publisher Michael C. Davids Vice President Sherri Iandolo Art Director Rick Dykhuis Special Events Coordinator Mary Knoll Contributing Writers Pamela Dittmer McKuen, Jim Fizzell, David Mack, and Cathy Walker Circulation Arlene Wold Administration Cindy Jacob and Carol Iandolo Condo Lifestyles Magazine is published quarterly by MCD Media, a wholly owned subsidiary MCD Marketing Associates, Inc. For editorial, advertising and subscription information contact: 935 Curtiss Street, Suite 5, Downers Grove, IL 60515. 630/932-5551 or e-mail Circulation: Condo Lifestyles is available for a single issue price of $8.95 or at a $30.00 annual subscription. Distribution is direct mailing and delivery direct through authorized distributors to over 5,000 officers and directors of Common Interest Communities, 500 property managers, 400 realtors, 400 developers and 400 public officials. Total Circulation is 7,000. Condo Lifestyles attempts to provide its readership with a wide range of information on community associations, and when appropriate, differing opinions on community association issues. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©. No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher.

is in the best interest of the association. As a result of good financial planning and other factors, there are some associations that already have funding for various improvements in their capital reserve account. it’s really the shortage of cash from unpaid assessments that are trying many managers and association boards right now. there are instances where you may have no choice but to find the money for certain capital improvement projects that must be completed for one reason or another. in some cases, bank loans are the best option to secure necessary funds. our cover story on how shoreline towers in chicago is purchasing some of the under valued units that are in foreclosure in their building is a very interesting approach to dealing with our current economy. this story provides terrific insight on how this option allows the board to use rental income from the units they now own to help cover expenses and build real estate equity. one special feature inside this issue is an overview of commercial condominium ownership. many businesses and other organizations have found this form of ownership to be beneficial fueling the increased popularity of commercial and retail condos. Another special feature in this edition is on the sensitive area of background checks and screening of residents. in our board basics offerings, we revisit the topics of commonly asked questions for community associations, rules and regulations as well as understanding the basics of common interest communities. there is an article on each of these topic areas that provides a variety of examples of how those involved in association living can have successful governance practices and be a positive impact on their community. Also inside this issue you will find our regular industry Happenings column along with highlights from a variety of special events. A special thank you to everyone who attended our condo Lifestyles’ condolympics event on march 19th. the donations we raised benefit special olympics illinois. upcoming mcD special events include our annual golf outing, which will be held on July 16 at eaglewood Resort in itasca and a luncheon in the million Room at Arlington international Racecourse in september. if your association(s) has a special need or challenge, there will be a variety of experts specializing in community association issues including many members of the condo Lifestyles advisory board who attend these events. mcD special events provide a terrific forum for association leaders to get questions answered, meet new vendors, share a story idea, or socialize with other volunteers and professionals. thanks to the many new subscribers that have found our publication useful and informative. special

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is issued with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal or accounting services. If legal advice is required, services should be sought. Advertisers assume liability for all content of advertisements printed, and also assume personal liability for any claims arising therefrom against the publisher relating to advertising content. The publisher and editors reserve the right to reject advertising or editorial deemed inappropriate for the publication.


conDo LiFestYLes

thanks to the organizations and associations that are Authorized Distributors of condo Lifestyles. We encourage you to take the opportunity to help your association and your community be the best it can be. if you have an idea to share that would benefit other community associations, a story to tell, or some advice on how to meet a problem or challenge, please call our office at 630-932-5551. You can also send an email ( Y

Michael C. Davids Editor and publisher


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.







(847) 564-3880 FAX

specializing in Accounting services for Homeowner Associations.

Daniel Baigelman, AIA capital improvements • Reserve studies engineering Reports

CONDO CPA A Division of Schneider, Cupuro & Associates, LTD. 85 ReVeRe DRiVe, suite B, noRtHBRooK, iL 60062




Accounting solutions for management companies & self-managed Associations Audit & Accounting services income tax Reduction & Planning


investigations and Repair Documents for: exterior Walls, Windows, Roofs, and Parking garages condition surveys and Reserve studies

contact: Michael c. Majewski, cpA

(630) 954-1400

KEOUGH & MOODY, P.C. (630) 369-2700 CHICAGO OFFICE 30 north Lasalle, suite 2340 chicago, iL 60602 (312) 899-9989

KOVITZ SHIFRIN NESBIT (847) 537-0500 covenant Drafting & enforcement Advising & consulting with Boards construction Defect Litigation collecting Delinquent Assessments

KLEIN AND HOFFMAN, INC. structural and Restoration engineers

MILLENNIUM PROFESSIONAL SERVICES - CPAS (847) 419-1120 monthly & Year-end Accounting services Contact Ike Zunzunia – BSBA, MSA, CPA

312-251-1900 Building envelope structural Renovation/Adaptive Reuse curtainwall/Windows capital maintenance Planning new structural Design, civil/environmental marine/Waterfront structures transportation Facilities



(847) 382-4100 “We Specialize in Emergency Repairs” Architects • Research • engineering specifications • Reserve studies

Architectural & interior Design investigation & condition surveys Repair Design & specification construction Administration Reserve studies ordinance & code compliance Reports

intellectual Property Law trademarks • Patents condominium Law general Litigation contact Mark d. Roth



K2N CREST P.C. (630) 990-9595

ORUM & ROTH, LTD. (312) 922-6262

COMMUNITY ADVANTAGE OF BARRINGTON BANK & TRUST (847) 304-5940 Loans, Reserve investments & Lock Box services

IFD INC. ASSOCIATED ENVIRONMENTAL LLC 847-364-6800 Asbestos Abatement • Lead Paint mitigation

ITASCA BANK & TRUST (630) 773-0350 contact Mark stelter

For more information, visit our website at No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes







QCI RESTORATION 847-891-2929 866-832-6724

HARD SURFACE SOLUTIONS (847) 228-7230 / (630) 674-4520

contact Len mayersky at

(773) 292-7020

concrete Flatwork specialists Asphalt Paving curbs & Driveways | sidewalks Footings & Foundations colored concrete stamped concrete Aggregate Finish concrete

THE PRIVATE BANK (847) 482-8118 contact Marty Klauber



SUNDEK OF ILLINOIS (847) 392-3939

RIGGIO/BORON, LTD. CENTRAL BUILDING & PRESERVATION L.P. (312) 666-4040 since 1924 tuckpointing masonry Repairs & Reconstruction concrete Restoration Facade inspections sealant & caulking Application

DESIGN INSTALLATION SYSTEMS (847) 470-8100 Contact Rob Busam:

FORUM GROUP, INC. (773) 732-3051

(847) 531-5700 A total exterior Facade Restoration company

CARPET CLEANING R & S CARPET & UPHOLSTERY CLEANING, INC. 708-243-0635 "We specialize in cleaning High Rise Buildings" garbage chute cleaning tile & grout • Pressure Washing move out/Detail cleaning serving chicagoland Area for over 10 Years

We resurface concrete We remove & pour concrete Waterproof membranes “Ask about our wall coatings” Pool Decks • Balconies • Rooftops shower & Locker Rooms “The Only 1 Stop Service since 1967”




l E A K R E pA I R s mAsonRY, concRete, tucKPointing, cAuLKing see our ad on page 9 for more details or visit our website at:

install new concrete Remove old concrete stamped & colored concrete Repair concrete • seal concrete Walks • Pool Decks • Balconies professional service since 1970

GOLF CONSTRUCTION (219) 933-3420

SMART ELEVATORS CO. (630) 544-6829

SUBURBAN ELEVATOR (847) 783-6200


HOLTON BROTHERS, INC. masonry Repair services, tuckpointing, caulking and concrete Restoration

For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006

SELECT ENERGY PARTNERS LLC (312) 593-6412 contact: Ryan Anthony

888-3HOLTON (888) 346-5866 www.holton


conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.





QCI RESTORATION 847-891-2929 866-832-6724

contact: Steve Stenger

HVAC HAYES MECHANICAL (773) 784-0000 2007 iRem Vendor of the Year



NU-TREND SERVICES, INC. (847) 534-2548 commercial Painting & cleaning steam cleaning • Power Washing

CONTECH MSI CO. 847-483-3803 Fire Detection & signaling systems Fire Alarm systems chicago Life safety evaluation solutions security systems/cctV card Access systems see our ad on page 13


(888) 877-6766 p | (888) 596-4996 F Brian Schieber RocKFoRd dIvIsIon

(877) 496-6699 p | (877) 494-6699 F Jerry Cielak

NORTHERN ILLINOIS FIRE SPRINKLER ADVISORY BOARD (NIFSAB) 866-2NIFSAB (866-264-3722) 708-403-4468 Residential Water, Fire and Disaster Restoration see our ad on page 13


Photo inventory, moving, storage or Disposal

Fire Alarm / sprinkler systems Fire Pumps / extinguishers Fire Panel monitoring installation / testing / maintenance 24/7 Service: (630) 948-1200


Contact Carl Stocking

FIRE/FLOOD RESTORATION BROUWER BROS. STEAMATIC (800) CLEAN54 cost efficient Janitorial & Maintenance services for homeowners associations. carpet cleaning, pressure washing, snow removal, etc.



SIMPLEX GRINNELL (630) 948-1235



DEWITT STERN 312-252-2157 contact: Lori Pastore, cic,Ais


(312) 583-1169 FAX state Licensed Private Detectives All types of investigations specialization in Foreclosure Process service and eviction notices on Foreclosed Property

Personal & condo specialists David Klans or Dan Browne



All types of environmental cleaning. (708) 396-1477

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.

(708) 396-1477

HOLLINGER SERVICES, INC. (847) 437-2184 Property casualty • employee Benefits Workers compensation


conDo LiFestYLes







THORNAPPLE LANDSCAPES, INC. 630-232 2076 / 800-464-3443


myrna ordower

(312) 621-2320

Quality Landscaping since 1947



Karyl Dicker Foray, ciRms, cRis

(708) 560-1248

CLEAN AIR SCIENCE (847) 344-0607

Design • Build • maintain

LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS ACRES GROUP (888) 231-1300 / (847) 526-4554

mold & Water Damage experts RESIDENTIAL-COMMERCIAL-INDUSTRIAL Asisstance with insuance claims Post Remediation Assessments & occupancy studies


Professional Landscaping and snow Removal






SKP SUPPLY LLC (847) 239-7249

energy efficient Lighting with simple Payback Programs

(847) 364-6800 environmental Remediation



chIcAgo dIvIsIon

MAILBOX WORKS (630) 355-9989 (773) 528-3111



BROUWER BROS. STEAMATIC (800) CLEAN54 “All types of environmental cleaning”

ENERGY EFFICEINT GREEN LIGHTING green Lighting, electrical supplies & Appliances

ILT VIGNOCCHI (847) 487-5200


An Emcor company

(847) 537-1616

(888) 877-6766 p | (888) 596-4996 F Brian Schieber RocKFoRd dIvIsIon

Large Variety of commercial and Residential mailboxes intercoms and tele-entry Address signage & engraved nameplates installation services since 1989

(877) 496-6699 p | (877) 494-6699 F Jerry Cielak Residential Water, Fire and Disaster Restoration see our ad on page 8


For more information, visit our website at 22

conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.








CERTAPRO PAINTERS (866) 441-8259



interior & exterior Painting • Wallcoverings stucco, masonry & eFis Repair • Drywall Repair


PTS CONSTRUCTION, INC. (630) 372-8400

ResiDentiAL & commeRciAL

LEGUM & NORMAN MIDWEST (312) 944-2611

(630) 717-7188

PAVING DUBOIS PAVING (847) 634-6089 (800) 884-4728


MCGILL MANAGEMENT, INC. (847) 259-1331

“Premier Community Management”



THE HABITAT COMPANY (312) 527-5400


concRete & AsPHALt Install New • Remove Old • Repair • Footings Foundations • Sidewalk • Parking Lots • Driveways

HEIL, HEIL, SMART & GOLEE (847) 866-7400

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS, LTD. (847) 845-6067 “A management company with Values” contact: James Krech



NIMROD REALTY GROUP (847) 724-7850

HILLCREST MANAGEMENT (630) 627-3303 / (312) 379-0692

For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


JONES & JONES, INC. (630) 963-9000



conDo LiFestYLes








B.T. LAKESIDE ROOFING (630) 628-0093 see our ad on page 6. see our ad on page 31.


WOLIN-LEVIN INC. (312) 335-1950

PROHTOP ROOFING (847) 559-9119

Contact Tom Skweres



S&D ROOFING SERVICE (630) 279-6600

ELLIOTT & ASSOCIATES (847) 298-8300

50,000 roofs installed tEAR oFFs • shInglEs • FlAt RooFs our experience & technical know-how gets the job done right the first time! serving the area since 1963

REMODELING CONTRACTORS ABC DECO INC. 773-701-1143 Painting & Wall Repairs Hardwood Floors/ tile installation Kitchen cabinetry sale & installation "serving community Association's for over 10 Years" Contact: Mike Chinte


SUAREZ ROOFING, INC. 773-235-5455 Your complete Roofing solutions



A&R SECURITY (630) 366-4103



B.T. LAKESIDE ROOFING (630) 628-0093

Build commercial/Residential Weekly service, open/close Renovations, VgB compliance Leak Detection, Largest staff of experienced technicians & Pool Attendants 40 Years in Business

Heaters Pumps • Repairs • chemicals Pool maintenance • complete Water Analysis Pool guards, inc.

established 1965 maintenance & Repairs Roofing/sheet metal/tuckpointing

DOWNES POOL COMPANY (800) 939-9309

SPMS 630-692-1500


ACTIVE ROOFING CO., INC. (773) 238-0338 (708) 430-8080


KRAMER TREE SPECIALISTS, INC. 630-293-5444 tree Pruning, tree Removal, cable Bracing, Plant Health care, tree Planting & transplanting

see our ad on page 31.

For more information, visit our website at 24

conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.






certified Arborists, Accredited, 5-time “company that cares” Honor Roll member





(847) 364-6800

TV-BULK CABLE & SATELLITE Renovation • new construction Window systems • noise Abatement curtain Wall systems Aluminum Windows: Wausau,Winstrom, Fulton, Alumitech Wood Windows: Andersen, Kolbe& Kolbe steel Windows: crittall, steelite

COMCAST (866) 594-1234

RCN (312) 955-2322

WINDOW WALL SERVICES, INC. THE CAULKING COMPANY (708) 361-9333 All Types of Window Restoration Weather stripping / Hinges Handles and Adjustments Curtain Wall Repair Specialists

For Display or Professional Services Directory Advertising Info, Call (630) 202-3006


Property Services, AAMC

Professional Community Management CE LE BR AT IN G OU






Contact: Michael D. Baum, CPM, PCAM

630-897-0500 6 30 . 9 9 0 .9 5 9 5 K 2 N


K 2 N.C O M

P. C .

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes




he Rules best Who Rules least….. how Rules and Regulations can benefit Your co tracy Hill and Larry Lolli of Property specialists, inc. and attorney stepfon smith of smith Amundsen, LLc. recently provided a combination of focused and random observations about the adoption and implementation of rules and regulations as controls on owner activities in community associations.


ill opened by declaring that the purpose of this seminar was to explain the mechanics of how boards can put together these behavioral constraints, offering what he described as, “a philosophical base for rules and regulations (R&Rs), what they’re intended to be and how approaching this (effort) in a certain way can benefit your communities.” Quoting Thomas Jefferson, Hill said, “he rules best who rules least,” adding that the purpose of this admonition was to warn those in authority that they had to be very careful in dealing with people who cherish freedom and liberty and consider their homes to be their castles in which they can do pretty much anything they want. “In setting rules, you’re (boards) fighting against basic human


conDo LiFestYLes

instincts.” By the same token, those people who choose to live in associations have to realize there are, “certain basic rights they give up,” in that setting to promote community harmony and cooperation.

Avoid Wild Rules Excursions Hill spoke about the tendency of some boards to go off on wild excursions in trying to establish controls. “There are some unreasonable rules that we’ve come across,” he said, pointing to one established by a developer that limited the number of pet fish residents could have and another that attempted to regulate the odor of foods being cooked. He also noted an association that wanted Hill’s staff to drive through the property to detect those residents who put their trash out earlier than 5PM the evening before the scheduled pickup to check compliance with a rule. “I ask you, was that reasonable?,” he said to the audience. Stepfon Smith stated unequivocally, “if rules are not reasonable, they will not be upheld by a court.”


Communication of Rules is Key Hill believes that the communication of rules to residents is as important as having them in effect. He suggested that boards examine closely every rule they are considering and write a paragraph or two saying why each was being adopted and send that explanation to unit owners along with the notice of the meeting at which they will be discussed with residents. In doing that, “you will go a long way toward eliminating the need to (later) send out violation notices.” Boards should take into consideration what their constituents say at the meeting to go over the rules because good suggestions to revise them may be offered. “You should listen to what people say who elected you and live next to you,” Hill said.

Perfect Does Not Exist Boards often try to create a “paradise” in their associations via the enactment of extensive and often overreaching rules. “One mistake boards make is to try to make their communities perfect,” Hill cautioned. “Perfect doesn’t exist.” In establishing rules, boards should reflect the will of the majority, realizing that some residents will never be in favor of many, if any, restrictions on their behavior. “This is probably the goal you

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2009©.


ommunity should set for yourselves.” Create too many rules governing every facet of human activity in a community setting will lead to a lot of unnecessary antipathy from residents who are cited for the slightest misstep by those who take it upon themselves to be policemen or worse. “You don’t want violation Nazis running around whose only goal is to see how many violations they can note,” Hill said, which could lead eventually to the ouster of over zealous board members by those who rebel at being straightjacketed. “If your rules are too stringent, in a couple of years you won’t be on the board anymore,” admonishing directors to, “keep in mind how you treat your neighbors and whether what you are putting into effect will be beneficial in the long run.”

Base Rules on Declaration and By-Laws Hill noted that rules should be based on declarations and by-laws. “You should never look at a rule as other than an extension of what your governing documents allow a board to do,” he warned. They should be details, fleshing out the skeleton of the covenants. In dealing with rule violations, Hill asked, “is it reasonable to bring the hammer down right away,” on persons who for the first time might unknowingly break a rule? He advised restraint initially by sending out, “a letter pointing out the rule, stating why it is necessary and please don’t do it again. That’s a friendly letter.” He likes the velvet glove approach to first transgressions but acknowledged that some boards might prefer, in the alternative but what accomplishes essentially the same objective, to levy a fine but then waive it for first offenses.

Offer Hearing for Subsequent Infringement When a resident commits a subsequent infringement of a rule, the board must offer

the offender a hearing (assuming a friendly letter was sent following the first violation) but Hill indicated that a committee could handle this proceeding and make a recommendation for disposition to the directors. Whoever conducts the hearing, he advised that the panel must listen to both sides but withhold judgment at that point, instead preparing a report for the full board, which should make the final decision on the violation at an open board meeting. And, Hill added, if a fine is to be assessed, its purpose should not be viewed as a means of penalizing the offender or as a planned way to augment the association’s budgeted income. Your intent should only be, he said, “to gain compliance with the rules, not to punish people.” In closing Hill said, in writing rules and enforcing them, “learn to distinguish between the serious and frivolous. And remember, they (unit owners) know where you live.”

American Contracting and Management Services, Inc. EXTERIOR

n n n n n n

Roof Replacement Tuck Pointing Concrete Replacement Painting and Caulking Siding & Wood Replacement Window Replacement

What is Reasonable? Larry Lolli began his remarks by stating, “I think the most important word Tracy (Hill) said is reasonable.” Just as Hill had suggested using committees as a way to relieve boards of the additional burden of conducting violation hearings, Lolli said directors could utilize committees to draft rules, thus taking even more of the heavy duty work off their shoulders. He often assists those assigned this task for the first time by looking at rules of other associations and offering ideas based on them. Echoing Hill again, he added. “whatever is in your rules cannot be contrary to your declaration and by-laws.”

Legal Review of Rules Suggested Lolli underscored the importance of a legal review of new rules before proposing them. “My associations have always had their attorneys look at them before sending them out to the members.” That will assure they do not go beyond the legal authority of the board in creating them and that they are reasonable and enforceable. Adoption of rules is at the sole discretion of a board of directors regardless of who drafts them. At the meeting with owners, “if you get a lot of people who disagree (with a rule), rethink it,” he suggested. “You may have stretched too far.”

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.



n n n n n n n n n n

Drywall & Plaster Repairs Painting Carpet & Tile Replacement Electrical Plumbing HVAC Maintenance (both high rise and residential) HVAC Replacements Boilers and Chillers Domestic Hot Water Installations Construction / Unit-Rehab Energy Control programs for both HVAC & Lighting


ACMS, INC. 934 Hedgewood Drive, Palatine. IL 60074

847.971.4126 Joe Orlando, President conDo LiFestYLes



MCD Golf Invitational July 16, 2010 @ Eaglewood Resort Itasca, Illinois

Better Ball Scramble Bocce Games


630-932-5551 for more information.

For more information, visit our website at 28

conDo LiFestYLes

Rules should not be static but, rather, open to revision or supplementation as time passes or conditions change. “Once rules are in place, you should try to review them once a year,” he recommended, but acknowledged that boards typically are not that quick to act. “As a practical matter, I’d say at least every 2 or 3 years review your rules. And make sure to put the date of adoption down,” so a historical record of action is available to future boards.

More on Hearings Expanding on the hearing process as touched on by Hill, Lolli said, “I refer to it as a day in court,” adding that it’s, “not a pleasant experience,” recalling his own earlier participation. While a committee can hold such a hearing, when boards do it the preferable time seems to be just prior to a regularly scheduled board meeting so all actions and votes can be completed in one evening. The person (if not a board member, employee or from management) filing the complaint should be present and the complaint itself has to be in writing. “My experience,” he said, “is that in 75% of the cases, the filer is not present. Some boards won’t hear the matter if the person signing the complaint doesn’t appear.” The final board decision must be recorded in the minutes and if the accused does not appear at the open meeting he/she must be notified if found guilty or not.


Smith agreed that a board could call off a hearing when the complainant fails to attend. If that party doesn’t show up it is a dead issue, he said. Because some residents are reluctant to face those they accuse for fear of being called out for “ratting” on their neighbors, Hill suggested that in those situations, especially where serious violations are alleged, that a board member, employee or someone from management attempt to observe the rule breaking behavior after it has been reported, take photos and gather other evidence of the violation, fill out the report form and then appear at the hearing. That should take the heat off the hesitant owners who originally viewed the offense.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Smith emphasized the need to have a consistent process for reporting and hearing violations as well as for boards to administer rules impartially and even handedly. “There should be a provision in the rules for this,” he said. When conflicts between boards and residents over alleged rules violations rise to the level of the legal system, Smith strongly recommended the use of alternative dispute resolution, specifically mediation between the parties. ”That’s a good way to get a dispute resolved without having (to bear the cost of) numerous court hearings,” he said. Y

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.



Understanding Common Interest Communities Non-condo associations

Actual Property Ownership

Jim Slowikowski, a principal in the Arlington Heights law firm of Dickler, Kahn, Slowikowski and Zavell, Ltd., spoke recently about “non-condo” associations, which can also be grouped under the heading Common Interest Communities (CICs) and include townhome and homeowner associations as well as cooperatives. His presentation at a recent ACTHA Conference dealt with only limited aspects of these associations due to the time constraints of the seminar schedule.

The Illinois Condominium Act only pertains to CICs in a very narrow scope, specifically in Sections 18.5, 18.6 and 18.7. “These are the three portions of the ICPA that apply,” said Slowikowski, who described the two primary legal differences between condos and other community associations. The first is the matter of actual property ownership. In a condominium, people essentially own air spaceeverything from the perimeter walls of their units inward. But, “in a non-condo, you own an entire lot and the building that sits on it.” Usually in a townhouse layout that means a

legally described unit and the land under and fore and aft of it, which shares walls with other adjacent units. HOAs will customarily be comprised of free standing single-family homes and the legally described plots of terra firma on which they are sited.

Common Property The second difference has to do with common property. In a condominium association, these areas, consisting of land and landscaping, building exteriors, hallways, parking lots, recreational amenities etc., are owned collectively by all members of the community. In a non-condo association, the common property is owned by the association. Not all of Section 18.5 relates to CICs, only parts (c) through (h), which is noted in (j) at the very end. But, Slowikowski pointed out, they only apply to those non-condo-

Management as Individual as You Are! Our Mission:

Established upon the belief that true success is measured by more than mere profitability. Legum & Norman Mid-West is committed to excellence in service and to the highest standards of honesty, reliability and innovation in our relations with both our clients and employees.

The nation’s leader in community association management. For more information

Call today: 312.944.2611 or visit us at No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes



miniums which have declarations recorded after September of 1985 or the board of directors has adopted the provisions of the Forcible Entry & Detainer Act governing evictions.

Administrative Rules Regarding Sections (c) through (h), “essentially they are administrative rules,” said Slowikowski, covering meetings, and finances, association records and their availability for review by unit owners, developer turnover, information to be given buyers at resale and errors and omissions in governing documents, all areas which have separate sections in other places in the Act for condominiums.

Standards for Managers Section 18.7, enacted in 2008, sets forth standards for community association managers in all types of associations. “These are guidelines and to some extent may have been abrogated by the new licensing for managers,” said Slowikowski. Those new requirements take effect in July of 2010.

Flying Flags Section 18.6 of the Act has to do with unit owners flying flags. “An association can’t enforce any rule that prohibits anyone from displaying an American or military An association can’t enforce any rule flag,” said Slowikowski. There is a difference that prohibits anyone from disbetween condos and non-condos in that in the playing an American or military flag, former associations, residents do not have a right to put flagpoles on common elements whereas, in Slowikowski’s opinion, owners in the latter can spot them on their lots.

Illinois Not for Profit Corporation Act At this point Slowikowski shifted to remarks that apply to all associations. In addition to those sections (c) through (h) of the Condo Act, the Illinois Not for Profit Corporation Act (NFPA) covers all common interest communities, as well as condominiums, that are incorporated. The NFPA is, however, a general piece of legislation that applies to all not for profit corporations in the State regardless of their purpose. “It sets forth general procedures and protocols for operating a not for profit corporation,” said Slowikowski, who noted there is a difference though between condos and non-condos when it comes to applicability of the NFPA. It pertains more broadly to all condominium associations whether or not incorporated, but, “there’s nothing specific that says the NFPA applies to non-condos that are not incorporated.” In some sections of the NFPA, that law defers to governing documents of an association (all kinds), essentially stating that, “unless different in your by-laws these provisions apply.” They are meant to address areas in the governing documents of a not for profit corporation where there is “a hole in them.” said Slowikowski. By the same token, there are some provisions in the NFPA that override areas of by-laws that are contrary in intent. For example, while in most associations, non-condo and otherwise, proxy voting is per-


conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


mitted by members in elections, in some it is not. But the NFPA provides for voting by proxy, a right not subject to restriction by an association. “If (an association’s) by-laws have a non-proxy provision, there is a conflict,” explained Slowikowski, that is resolved in favor or proxy use as permitted by the NFPA.

for coverage and this is especially critical in row house or other connected living arrangements. There can be real problems when an owner does not have insurance and a fire occurs that blackens one unit in a row. “My recommendation,” said Slowikowski, “is to require owners to provide proof of insurance.”

Removal of Directors

Separate Assessments

Another area of the not for profit act deals with the method of the removal of directors from the boards of a NFP corporation. “In my opinion,” Slowikowki said, “if you are a not for profit corporation, this provision applies to removal of directors even if it’s not in (a non-condo or condo association’s) bylaws.” He advised associations to consult their attorneys where this situation is not clear.

Finally Slowikowski noted that in condominium associations boards can pass separate

assessments without the approval of unit owners, subject to certain limitations on how much if the owners object and they follow certain procedures. In a non-condo, the declaration or by-laws may require the board to get approval of the owners ahead of enacting such assessments. “You need to consult your documents or your professionals before you make that move,” he advised. Y

Collecting Delinquent Assessments at Foreclosure Regarding the ability of condominium associations to collect up to six months of delinquent assessments from the buyers at foreclosure sales or those who acquire units from lenders after the sales, Slowikowski said there is a move afoot to get similar protection for other associations. “The Illinois Legislative Action Committee is trying to get a (similar) statute passed that will apply to non-condos,” he said. “Hopefully, the law will be passed quickly and give (them) some relief.” There are a couple of other areas of ambiguity concerning non-condo associations.

Maintenance & Repair One source of ambiguity is regarding maintenance and repairs (m&r). The association is only responsible to the extent that the burden is placed on it by the declaration or bylaws. The homeowner must provide all upkeep that is not specifically referenced in the governing documents. This division of labor between association and homeowner in noncondos can vary between communities and differs from condominiums in that the Illinois Condo Act provides that all exterior repairs for them shall be made by the association.

Insurance Regarding insurance, in a condominium the association must insure the buildings but in non-condos the homeowner is responsible

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


conDo LiFestYLes




some background on screening i own a 3rd floor unit in a small condominium association, although currently one of my sons, his girlfriend and my one-year old granddaughter live there.


ecently the couple told me that one of the tenants on the first floor is a registered sex offender and they substantiated their observation by logging on to a website of the illinois Department of corrections that provides details on such miscreants living in the state. there was his picture and the address of our building. Actually the nature of his crime would not be an offense in some other states but in illinois this person is forever doomed to be typed as a sexual predator. His presence in the complex was not a secret but apparently had not roused any clamor against him by other residents. nevertheless, i began to wonder about such convicts in condos and whether associations can or should take action to attempt to prohibit them from living in their communities. Do convicted sex


conDo LiFestYLes

offenders have rights to live where they want to that can’t be abridged by boards of associations? Apparently not, but any board that chooses to deny habitation on its premises to sexual predators must proceed cautiously in trying to do so.

Renting to Sex Offenders this is not an issue that has been challenged in court in this state even though some associations have taken the step of denying owners the right to rent to registered sex offenders. Litigation has, however, been undertaken elsewhere. “Although it is an open question in illinois as to whether an association can restrict residency by registered sex offenders, the practice has been successfully used in other states,” said scott Rosenlund, a partner in the law firm of Fosco Fullettt Rosenlund, P.c. He


specifically referred to a new Jersey case, mulligan v. Panther Valley Property Association in which the state’s appellate court concluded that a by-law amendment banning occupancy by a specific category of highrisk sex offender was legally acceptable. “the Panther Valley court case found that the restriction was not an unlawful restriction on an owner’s right to sell or lease his or her home.” Both renting and selling were covered by this decision.

Not a Protected Class Attorney marshall Dickler of Dickler,Kahn, slowikowski Zavell, Ltd. doesn’t believe a condominium association would have any problem barring owners from renting to convicted sex offenders. criminals by that definition alone are not a protected class under any state or federal statute so there is no legal barrier to discriminating against them. “condominiums in illinois have an absolute legal right to discriminate unless the discrimination is prohibited by some state or federal law.” (it would be interesting to see if a discrimination complaint would be upheld by a registered

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


sex offender who is also disabled.) Accordingly i see no reason why a condominium association could not prohibit owners from renting to convicted sex offenders.”

Amending Your Declaration some local attorneys have assisted associations in setting up bans against sex offenders. “A growing number of our clients have adopted an amendment to their declaration(s), which provides that owners are specifically prohibited from renting their units to a person who has been convicted of a sexual crime or violent felony,” explained Kerry Bartell of the law firm of Kovitz shifrin nesbit. “We have found that it is often easy to obtain the necessary owner approval for these amendments even in an association where the owners have been traditionally uninvolved.” this issue obviously attracts the interest of unit owners. Rosenlund would urge the same course of action by boards that want to codify bans on sex offenders. “i would recommend that an association wishing to impose a sex offender residency restriction implement the restriction through a carefully worded declaration amendment drafted by experienced association legal counsel,” he said, adding that the amendment should apply equally to all residents both tenants and owners. “i would also discourage retroactive application of such a restriction.” treating all equally and only prospectively would better assure that such an amendment would withstand a legal challenge.

Closed Door Policy Dickler concurs with his legal brethren in the approach associations should take in establishing a closed-door policy against sex offenders in associations. “if this were to be done by an amendment to the declaration there would be no question about the enforceability,” he said. to do so more informally might lead to the ban being questioned by the judiciary. “imposing this requirement by a rule would always be subject to a court’s determination of whether the rule is reasonable as written and reasonable as applied in that particular (the one being sued) condominium association.” Just as Rosenlund, Dickler sees the need to make any ban on sex offenders applicable to all residents of an association. “if an amendment was passed prohibiting or restricting occupancy of any unit by a convicted sex offender, in my opinion, (that) would eliminate the issue of whether there have been two classes of owners created, (which is) a violation of the condominium Act.” the Appellate court has not been clear in establishing those specific situations where the express prohibition against two classes of owners in condos applies. “i do believe the concept has been misapplied and

over applied by trial courts but we do not have any definitive direction on (when it would apply) from the Appellate court.” to avoid rejection at that level of the judicial system an amendment applicable to all would seem to make the most sense.

Banning Owners is Different But how to make a ban against owners who are sex offenders work would be a real challenge. that is a whole different and more complex matter. Rosenlund has heard of a texas association that required that sellers certify that their buyers are not sex offenders but doesn’t have any specifics in that case. But, he said, with respect to enacting such a restraint on an owner’s right to sell in illinois, “ it is questionable as to whether this type of requirement would be enforceable,” an opinion with which Dickler agreed. “the key is a prohibition on rental, which is a commercial activity, rather than owning which might be protected by state or federal constitutional law,” he said. “generally commercial activities are not protected.” Furthermore, if an association takes any action to attempt to control whether sex offenders can buy units through a background check, that research should be the burden of sellers not the association. “Any declaration amendment (should) at least place this obligation to investigate solely upon sellers and expressly disclaim any association responsibility for investigations”, said Rosenlund, and there should be a grandfather provision that exempts existing owners who are registered sex offenders from being forced to sell and move.

Increased Liability Rosenlund’s firm has had discussions with several associations about banning sex offenders (and other felons) but after the potential liabilities were explained none have taken the next step of initi-

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


ating an amendment. “i have advised these clients that they should thoroughly consider the possible ramifications of such restrictions, which would offer no guarantees that criminal activity would not occur on the property,” he said. Potential problems would be increased liability, especially if any restrictions are not carefully applied; the difficulty there could be in setting up effective monitoring systems; legal costs associated with enforcing restrictions as well as legal expenses that would occur in defending against a challenge to restrictions and controversy within the community. there is also the potential media attention focused on an association as cases come to light.

Action Not Wide Spread Despite the fact that some associations may have enacted bans against sex offenders, there has been little apparent action to root them out of associations either because none have been discovered on the premises or indifference as long as no offensive activity has taken place or been alleged as at the condo complex where i own a unit. gina Rossi of Vanguard community management, is aware of only one case in which a community removed sex offenders, in some cases many years after they become residents. “this is based on communities that i have worked with for over 12 years,” Rossi said. other management personnel contacted for this article are not aware of any registered sex offenders living in associations they manage. Dickler has never encountered a sex offender problem at any association he counsels serious enough to warrant consideration of enacting an official policy to prevent or restrict their taking up or continuing residence. “We have had to address issues of sex offenders but we have never amended a declaration imposing a rule prohibiting their occupancy of a unit or prohibiting a landlord from

conDo LiFestYLes



renting to a convicted sex offender,” he said.

Background Checks Aside from screening for and banning sex offenders, what about other criminal or financial background checks that might be used by associations? How widespread or extensive are such practices? “many associations have adopted resolutions that provide that owners must conduct a criminal background check on their tenants,” said Bartell, who favors the idea of associations requiring owners to do such investigations because they are not expensive and they might make owners think twice about renting to someone with a law breaking history, especially one that includes serious felonious offenses. “While (an) association cannot specifically deny the owners the right to rent to (such a) tenant (other than registered sex offenders as noted earlier), the idea is that the owners will see the information and choose not to rent to them.” Bartell also recommends to clients that background surveys be conducted on all occupants of a unit, not just the lessee. Dickler goes a step further concerning associations compelling unit owners to perform criminal and financial background checks in that he asserts that they can be required on both prospective


conDo LiFestYLes

renters and buyers. “the answer is an unequivocal yes,” he said when asked if both can be covered by the policy. “i have some association declarations going back twenty plus years that authorize credit and character analysis of any purchaser or occupant,” so that they (associations) can gather information upon which to decide whether, “to exercise any first right to purchase or lease.” (An association would have to exercise a first right to buy- where it had that authority in its declaration- or it might not be able to prevent a convicted sex offender from buying a unit- see the discussion above about the uncertain legality of doing it by simply banning sex offenders as buyers.) Furthermore, some of these declarations give the associations the authority to actually perform their own background checks if owners fail to do so. in addition to being able to ban registered sex offenders, Dickler is of the opinion that when a serious criminal record is uncovered in these investigations it, ”would give (an) association the right to prohibit (such) convicted felons,” regardless of the nature of the illegal acts they committed. Rosenlund doesn’t recommend that associations get into background checking themselves but that they leave criminal history investigation to the discretion of unit owners although not making the procedure mandatory other than for sex


offenders if they have the proper declaration amendment on the books. “A condominium or homeowner association has no right to screen tenants and associations have ample remedies against both unit owners and tenants if tenants (those both with criminal records or not) fail to comply with an association’s covenants or rules,” he said.

Protecting Residents from Harm Again (just as with amendments against sex offenders) Rosenlund noted the possibility of liability if associations require tenant background checks. this, “could be construed as broadening an association’s duty to protect residents from harm,” he explained, and if the association (or its management agent) doesn’t vigorously enforce the screening requirement and a unit owner’s tenant causes harm to another resident, “the association could be subjected to a claim from the victim.” He also warned that while criminal background checks are not discriminatory acts in and of themselves they could be tied in with circumstances that could widen exposure to fair housing violation claims. the example cited above is a disabled person- a protected class- who has a criminal background. Fair housing agencies such as the u.s. Department of Housing and urban Development

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


might look into such a case if requested and find against an association. Whether a fair housing grievance by someone who is disabled but a registered sex offender and who is turned away as a tenant by a prohibition against such deviants in an association’s declaration would find a sympathetic ear in HuD, for example, is an interesting situation to speculate upon.

Management’s View What is property management’s perspective on background checks of tenants? Rossi and Liz Foley, her colleague at Vanguard community management, provided their views on the subject. they have seen boards of directors moving ahead proactively to combat possible harm to residents and property values. “one of the steps (taken) includes required tenant screening,” said Foley. “While boards should be cautious to not give the impression that they are guaranteeing safety (as Rosenlund warned about) in the community, screening is a valuable step in reducing potential for crime in a given area.”

Screening Required Vanguard works with a few communities that have begun to require screening for financial and

criminal history of prospective tenants of unit owners as well as crime free addendums to leases. “these addendums are reviewed by the potential tenant prior to signing leases and renewed with each lease,” said Rossi. essentially they require tenants and their guests to abstain from any criminal activity in or near the property. “the addenda further describe specific crimes or behaviors as well as the consequences for (such) actions.” But screening of tenants is not pervasive in Vanguard communities. “it is my understanding from conversations with several legal professionals that most associations are concerned with legal implications that could arise,” said Rossi. Any association that is considering establishing such a background review should never attempt to do so by adopting a rule or a declaration amendment without legal direction, which management is not equipped to give. “i strongly recommend involving the association’s attorney at the onset of screening discussions,” said Foley. “A manager should not provide advice on local and national laws.” When a board imposes a policy of prior screening of tenants it is generally not the owners or the board that bear the brunt of the background review at the few Vanguard properties where this is done. “in my experience, manage-

No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.


ment assumes the largest role in screening,” said Foley, although, “the board has the decision making power and therefore the final say after reviewing the results.” is it likely that those associations that do ban sex offenders or require background screening for other criminal history will be challenged legally over these practices in illinois in the future? Dickler doesn’t think so,” because most of the groups that provide this type of (legal) protection would not generally act on behalf of convicted felons and convicted sex offenders.” He believes it’s more an issue of financial solvency than a matter of principle because these organizations might see their funds curtailed significantly if they fought these prohibitions, although he conceded that there will always be some who will pursue a cause no matter what their clients may have done. (the AcLu has advanced and defended the interests of some pretty disreputable characters at times.) But, Dickler added, as a practical matter, “these classes of individuals (sex offenders especially) don’t get much sympathy from public organizations or private charities,” groups that would normally come to the aid of someone who is a victim of what they perceive as an abuse of a questionable law. Y

conDo LiFestYLes



MCD Pool Party featuring Condolympics O

ver 200 guests joined mcD media at the 14th annual mcD Pool Party on march 19th,2010 at the Pyramid club located at 236 West Lake street in Addison, iL. special thanks to chief scorekeeper Kevin Block and lead judges tairre Dever sutton, stephan gourdouze, and Aaron Zych along with event chairperson cathy Ryan and committee members tony Dister, tracy Davis, Bonnie escalante, terry Holum, August girardi, eva Fiala, mark neville, tom skweres, tom Pinkard, megan Vose, tom Wykle, mary Knoll, sherri iandolo and Arlene Wold. major sponsors of the event were: Kinsella Landscape, inc., Hard surface solutions, Balanaced environments and Landscape concepts management. Winners of the various events are listed below. ping pong 1st – michael timlin 2nd – Luis Lara 3rd – matt Kielbasinski bowling (video) 1st – Bonnie escalante, Dave Zimner 2nd – Diana Larson, mke Roche 3rd - chris matson, David Lockhart

dart tourney 1st - mitzi Buttner, tony Pienschke 2nd - susan carter, John matranga 3rd - Jessica Ryan, Dave Zimner pool tourney 1st - Dave Boss, Kim Berg 2nd - Russel thomas, Luci major 3rd - John matranga, susan carter

bean bags/cornhole 1st - colin cagan, Kendall 2nd - Karen Flintz, gillian stark 3rd - mitzi Buttner, Pam moros best dressed –80’s theme 1st - Property specialists, inc. 2nd - tairre management 3rd - Dubois Paving

pin game 1st - Keith Johns special olympics donations 1st - Property specialists, inc. 2nd - Alan Horticultural enterprises 3rd - smithereen Pest management services

Stress-free telecom RCN delivers it with: • Dedicated Building Relations Representatives • Local customer service • Property manager hotline With 100% digital TV and over 100 HD channels, blazing-fast Internet and unlimited nationwide phone, your residents will be happy and we’ll take care of all your building’s telecommunications needs. So you can focus on, you know, managing your building.

100% Digital TV • Over 100 HD channels to choose from • 1000’s of ON DEMAND movies and shows, including 2,500+ hours of FREE content

High-Speed Internet • Your choice of fast, reliable Internet up to 20Mbps • McAfee® anti-virus and spam-blocker available

Unlimited Nationwide Phone • Unlimited local, regional and nationwide calling • Operates on our self-sustained network and doesn’t use your building’s internal wiring

For more iinformation, F f ti please l email il hi t @ t Or call: 312-955-2322. Installation fees may apply. All rates subject to applicable taxes, franchise fees and other government-imposed charges and fees. All sales subject to credit check and may require pre-payment of service. Not all services available in all areas. Other restrictions may apply. ©2010 RCN Telecom Services of Illinois, LLC. All rights reserved. 7362 0310


conDo LiFestYLes


No part of the publication may be reproduced whatsoever without written consent from the publisher. All material herein is copyrighted 2010©.

Advanced Public Adjusters, LLC Your Insurance Claims Advocate

HAS YOUR CONDOMINIUM SUFFERED FROM UNEXPECTED DAMAGE DUE TO FIRE-BROKEN PIPES/WATER HEATERS-HAIL-ROOF LEAKS ETC. In addition to the damages many other problems and issues can accrue such as who is at fault? The Association? The Unit Owner? Filing an Insurance claim is usually the best option but unit owners and condo boards are sometimes afraid that premiums will go up or policies will be dropped. This is illegal in Illinois.

APA can assist all parties involved in deciphering the confusing situation and vast amount of paperwork.

APA services include: estimating, claim handling, settlement negotiations and appraisal at no extra cost Filing a Lawsuit Vs. Filing an Insurance Claim Lawsuit: Insurance Claim: • Incur large Attorney fees • Create bad will and animosity from condo board to unit owner • Can take a long time to settle

• Most damage covered under policy • Keep the peace in the community • APA fe s are generally 80% less than attorney fees

Advanced Public Adjusters are experts in Residential and Commercial Property Claims! We work exclusively for the policy holder to maximize the insurance settlement. We are highly trained, licensed, bonded and experts on your policy, its allowances, limitations, exclusions and hidden coverages.

It is not unusual that our adjusters receive settlements for 200-300% more than the insurance company’s initial offer! Call us for a free no obligation consultation. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: 575 WAUKEGAN ROAD, NORTHBROOK, IL • 877-504-8899 •

0310.4884 CL[0410]_40pgr_FNL  

Rent or Own? Commercial Condominiums on the Rise Commonly Asked Questions for Community Associations He Rules Best Who Rules Least: How Rule...

0310.4884 CL[0410]_40pgr_FNL  

Rent or Own? Commercial Condominiums on the Rise Commonly Asked Questions for Community Associations He Rules Best Who Rules Least: How Rule...