Q. I understand that a unit owner in a condominium association can videotape a board meeting. Can the board impose any restrictions on this?
A. The Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that any unit owner in a condominium or master association may record the proceedings at board meetings, or portions thereof required to be open to owners, by tape, film or other means. However, the board may prescribe reasonable rules and regulations to govern the right of an owner to make such recordings.
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The taping of meetings can be disruptive, intimidating and create safety issues. A board should address these issues by establishing rules that will ensure the least amount of disruption without impairing unit owner rights.
Here are some examples of issues that could be addressed in rules.
A unit owner who intends to record a board meeting should be required to advise the chair person prior to the meeting so that an announcement can be made to those in attendance at the meeting that it is being taped. Video and audio recorders should be hand held or mounted in a stationary location. Any unit owner recording or videotaping a meeting should be required to sit off to the side of the audience section facing the board. Recording devices should not be placed on the board table.
Unit owners should not be permitted to utilize any information obtained as a result of the recording of a board meeting for any improper purpose, or for any use unrelated to the unit owner's interest in the association. The recordings or copies should not be provided to any person who does not have a right to attend board meetings.
The proactive board will find the adoption of rules concerning taping of board meetings will serve to reduce the likelihood of unpleasant and time consuming skirmishes with unit owners during a meeting.
Q. I live in a single-family homeowners association in Long Grove. For decades, we were governed solely by our declaration of covenants. Now I am advised that the association may be subject to a statue like the one that governs condominiums. What can you tell me about this?
A. The latest entry into the Illinois homeowner association arena that has its own statue is the "common interest community association." A common interest community association is essentially an association other than a condominium or cooperative or master association. Common interest community associations are governed by the Common Interest Community Association Act.
However, a common interest community association that is organized as an Illinois general not-for-profit corporation and has either 10 units or less, or annual budgeted assessments of $100,000 or less, is exempt from the act.
That said, an otherwise exempt common interest community association can affirmatively elect to be covered by the act. This requires the vote of a majority of its directors or of the members of the association.
Common interest community associations may include attached or detached townhouses, villas or single-family homes. Associations like yours need to investigate whether they are covered by the act, as this law would have a significant impact on the operation of the association.
Q. Who should serve as an association's registered agent?
A. I believe it is important for the association's attorney to serve as the registered agent for several reasons. As the registered agent, the attorney will receive all mailings from the secretary of state's office in connection with the filing of the annual report required to maintain the corporate status of the association. Importantly, as registered agent, the attorney will be served on behalf of the association for any type of legal action, including municipal code violations, owner foreclosures and bankruptcies, and lawsuits. This greatly increases the timely handling of all matters, and reduces the chance that an important document will slip between the cracks.
Q. The declaration for our condominium association provides that board members are elected for a term of two years. Is this a term limit?
A. The provision of your declaration is not a term limit. Section 18(a)(11) of the Condominium Property Act provides that board members can be elected for a term of no more that two years; however, a board member may succeed themselves. This means that an owner can be elected to the board for an infinite number of two-year terms, consecutive or otherwise. A term limit, whereby the total length of time an owner can serve on the condominium board is limited to a certain number of years, is not permitted.
• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in Buffalo Grove. Send questions for the column to him at CondoTalk@ksnlaw.com. The firm provides legal service to condominium, townhouse, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives. This column is not a substitute for consultation with legal counsel.