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posted: 3/22/2014 12:01 AM

Don't ignore legal requests by association

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Q. Our association's new management company has requested a copy of the lease if the home is being rented. Our unit is being rented, but there is no lease. We had issues with our former management company when we explained the situation. Now, I am reluctant to inform the new management company since it is likely they will demand a lease that doesn't exist.

I understand the implications of not having a lease, but that is a nonissue in this situation. According to the letter I received, management states that the association's governing documents require owners to provide the association a copy of any current lease. I plan to ignore their request for a copy of the lease. Am I within my rights?

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A. The association is entitled to a copy of the lease or, if the lease is oral, a memorandum of the lease, if that is what is provided for in the governing documents, or if you live in a condominium. Ignoring the association's request for a copy of the lease (or a memorandum of the lease) exposes you to the enforcement procedures that may be set out in the association's governing documents.

In a condominium, failure to provide the lease or the memorandum of the lease permits the association to terminate the lease and to evict your tenant.

Q. Our association sent us a letter asking that we provide evidence of insurance required to be maintained by our declaration, the name and address of our mortgage holder, tenant information, vehicle information, and emergency contact information. Am I obligated to provide this information?

A. In a nutshell, "yes."

Q. In several of your columns, you have stated that an association's declaration and bylaws can be changed with two-thirds vote of the board, or by a majority of the homeowners at a meeting called for that purpose. Our association's declaration provides that it can be amended in whole or in part by a recorded instrument executed by the owners of not less than three-fourths of the lots then subject to the declaration. Is a two-thirds vote by our board, or the vote of majority of homeowners at a meeting, sufficient to amend the declaration, given the requirement in our declaration that an amendment has to be approved by three-fourths of the owners?

A. The columns to which you refer discussed the procedure set out in statutes to amend an association's declaration and bylaws for the limited purpose of conforming to the provisions of those statutes that govern associations, such as the Condominium Property Act or the Common Interest Community Association Act. That is not the same as the procedure to make other types of amendments to an association's governing documents. Other amendments to your declaration would be governed by the amendment language in your declaration, which requires the signature of three-fourths of the owners.

Q. The buildings in our association are about 20 years old. Our roof consultant has advised the board that we need new roofs. Apparently, nails instead of screws were used to secure the plywood portions of the roof, and this has caused the roof to pop off. Would the association's insurance cover the cost to replace the faulty roof? This winter has really taken a toll on our roof, too. Under what circumstances do insurance companies pay for roof repairs or replacements?

A. Association property insurance does not pay for construction defects, or for maintenance costs. Insurance is typically triggered to pay for repair or replacement if damage is caused by a "sudden and calamitous" event, like a fire or lightning for example. That said, the association should speak with its insurance agent or broker to determine if any damage (particularly damage that may have been caused by a weather event) is covered under the association's insurance. Note that a defective roof would typically give rise to a claim against the developer. However, the statute of limitations for bringing such a claim would have expired on a claim of this vintage.

• 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.

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