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posted: 5/31/2014 12:01 AM

A board may not prohibit the display of the American flag

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Q. I am a veteran who, from time to time, displays a small American flag on a short pole in the ground of the limited common element patio area outside of my townhouse-style unit. The board of the association recently asked me to remove the flag stating that it violates the covenants for our property. I have read the covenants and the board is correct. Is there any Illinois law that would permit me to display an American flag anyway?

A. Yes there is. A board may not prohibit the display of the American flag or of a military flag, or both, or the installation of a flagpole, on or within the limited common areas and facilities of a unit owner or on the immediately adjacent exterior of the building in which the unit of a unit owner is located. This applies regardless of any provision in the declaration, bylaws, rules, regulations or agreements or other instruments of a condominium association or a master association or a common interest community association.

That said, a board may adopt reasonable rules and regulations, consistent with the United States Code, regarding the placement and manner of display of the American flag, and of a military flag, and regarding the location and size of flagpoles.

Q. An owner in our association has created a website that prominently uses the name of the association. This was done without authority of the board. Owners in the association are confused and many owners incorrectly assume this is a website established by the board. Can the board put an end to the website?

A. If the website creates confusion as to its source and its affiliation to the association, the board can demand that the owner either eliminate any confusing references to the association or include a prominently displayed disclaimer on every page of the website. The disclaimer would indicate that the website is not affiliated with, or sponsored by, the association.

The board could also prohibit the use of any logo that may be used by the association. The board could take legal action against the owner, to accomplish the same end, if the owner fails or refuses to voluntarily comply.

Q. The swimming pool for our association is opening this weekend. Does the association have to have a lifeguard on duty?

A. I still haven't taken the tarps off my patio furniture, so it is good to see some optimism about the possibility that we in Illinois will have a summer this year. A lifeguard or lifeguards must be provided at all association swimming pools that allow bathers 16 years old or younger to enter the pool area (not just the pool) without a responsible person 17 or older present. The parent or guardian of each person younger than 17 is permitted to submit written permission to the board of managers/directors allowing that individual to enter the pool area or swim without either a lifeguard or a person 17 or older present.

All swimming pools that do not provide a lifeguard must post and enforce the following rule: "No person may enter the pool area alone or swim alone."

Q. Voting in our association is permitted in person at meetings or by proxy given to another person. Are the proxies counted toward a quorum?

A. Yes, the quorum for an owners' meeting is established by taking into consideration the owners present at the meeting either in person or by proxy. A mail-in ballot could also be counted toward a quorum, if a mail in ballot procedure has been established by the association's rules or declaration.

• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in Buffalo Grove. Send questions for the column to him at 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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