Q. I understand there is legislation pending in Illinois that would permit condominium associations to issue notice to owners electronically, rather than through the mail. Is that correct?
A. The typical condominium association declaration provides that information regarding board meeting times and dates, and other required legal notices, is to be given by U.S. mail or personal delivery. On July 16, the governor signed HB 4784 (now known as Public Act 98-0735). The law will be effective as of Jan. 1. This legislation amends Section 18.4 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, which addresses the powers and duties of the board of managers of a condominium association.
This legislation authorizes the board to adopt rules to authorize electronic delivery of notices and other communications, required or contemplated by the Act, to each unit owner who provides the association with written authorization for electronic delivery and an electronic address to which such communications are to be electronically transmitted. It also authorizes the board to adopt rules authorizing each unit owner to designate an electronic address or a U.S. Postal Service address, or both, as the unit owner's address on any list of members or unit owners that an association is required to provide upon request.
Importantly, the law makes clear that an association would only make an owner's email address available to another owner (under circumstances where an owner is even entitled to information about another owner) with the approval of the owner of the email address.
The law does not automatically grant the association the ability to utilize electronic delivery of notices. A board is going to have to adopt appropriate rules in order to avail itself of the benefits of this legislation. Of course, if the association's declaration, as originally drafted or amended, already provides for electronic notice, the board could use this method without having to implement a rule. The board should still, however, adopt rules concerning what address (email or U.S. Postal Service address) that will be made available to other owners upon request.
Q. An owner in our association inundates the property manager with abusive emails, falsely accusing him of wrongdoing. What can the board do to stop this?
A. No owner has the right to communicate with management via email. The owner should be advised, via regular mail, to stop sending communications to the property manager by email, and that he may only communicate with the property manager in writing via regular U.S. mail. The letter should also advise the owner that future email from him will be deleted and not read. While it is simple to sit at a keyboard and send emails, many belligerent emailers won't bother to take the time to use regular mail. If the emails do continue, simply hit the "delete" key, or "block" incoming emails from this owner.
Q. A board member of our condominium, who is not an officer, does absolutely nothing other than to vote at meetings. Is this fair? Can we remove him from the board?
A. I don't know what it is that you expect this board member to do outside of the board meetings, so I can't really comment on whether or not they are carrying their weight. However, it would be appropriate for the board to communicate its expectations to this board member, and permit the board member to perform, before considering the drastic action of removal. That said, removal of a director requires the affirmative vote of the percentage of unit owners specified in your association's declaration, at a called meeting of the owners. It isn't something the board can do on its own, though.
• 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.