Q. Our association has minimum age requirements for residents, as permitted by federal law. The association is supposed to make sure residents meet the age requirements. Is the association required to demand proof of age, like a birth certificate or driver's license, from residents?
A. The federal regulations on this issue provide that a self-certification of age by an individual is sufficient. So there is no need to require a resident to provide other documentation as proof of their age.
Q. I live in a condominium. A developer has approached the board with a plan to buy the entire condominium building. Can this be done?
A. Section 15 of the Condominium Property Act does provide a procedure for the sale of the entire condominium. Unit owner approval is required for the sale. The percentage of owners that must vote in favor of a proposed sale depends on the number of units in the association. If the necessary unit owner approval is obtained, that action is binding on all unit owners, and all of the unit owners would be required to execute and deliver such instruments and to perform all acts as may be necessary to effect the sale.
The sale of an entire condominium building is a complicated matter. The first thing an association should do when considering such a transaction is to retain counsel familiar with condominium law.
Q. My association recently imposed a $150 fee on owners who rent out their townhouses. I have two units so it is a significant amount per year. The fee is charged at the start or renewal of a one-year lease. The reason given by the board for this charge is that it costs more to keep track of the renters. This seems unreasonable if not unfair. Can the board do this?
A. The validity of these charges, separate and apart from the annual budget and monthly assessment intended to take into consideration anticipated expenses of the association, is uncertain and questionable in Illinois. However, unless and until the appellate court says otherwise, many associations appear willing to accept the risk posed by this uncertainty and will continue to impose this and similar charges. At minimum though, there should be a relationship between the costs incurred by the association and the charge to the owner.
Q. What is the proper procedure for a condominium association board to adopt rules?
A. The procedure is set out in Section 18.4(h) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Rules covering the details of the operation and use of the property may be amended by the board at a board meeting. The adoption of rules does not require the vote of the unit owners. The act provides that there must first be a meeting of the unit owners called for the specific purpose of discussing the proposed rules before there is a meeting of the board to adopt the rules. The two meetings can be held back-to-back on the same evening. No quorum is required at the meeting of the unit owners. Importantly, the notice of the unit owner meeting must also include the full text of the proposed rules.
Q. The bylaws for our association provide for a five-member board. Two board members resigned, and we can't get any owners to step forward to fill the vacancies. Can the association operate with less than five board members?
A. The association can function with less than five board members. However, the association needs a minimum of three board members to maintain its status as a nonprofit corporation. That is, the annual report filed with the Illinois Secretary of State requires there to be a minimum of three directors. The association should consider amending the bylaws to provide for a three-member board if it is that difficult to attract candidates.
• 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.