Q. The terms of two of our three board members expire at the upcoming annual meeting. If no one steps up to run for the board, and the current board members want to continue in their positions as board members, does an election need to occur?
A. Even if the election is uncontested, meaning there are not more candidates than the number of seats to be filled, the association needs to hold the annual meeting, and conduct the election. However, the association may be able to elect the slate of candidates by unanimous consent (acclamation) rather than by ballot. This would permit the slate to be elected by voice vote following the appropriate motion. That said, the association's governing documents need to be reviewed to determine if the casting of an actual ballot is required.
Q. Does a majority of unit owners need to be present to have an election of the board even if the number of candidates is equal to the number of board seats to be filled?
A. A quorum of the owners must be present in person or by proxy (or other means of voting permitted for your association) in order to hold the annual meeting, and to conduct the election, even if the election is not contested. You'll need to review the association's governing documents, and applicable statute, to determine what percentage of the owners constitutes a quorum for the association.
Q. Our association entered into a contract with a professional management company; however, the board has not permitted owners to examine the contract. Do owners have a right to examine the current management contract?
A. The specific language of the respective statutes that govern Illinois condominium associations, master associations, and common interest community associations is not identical on the subject of an owner's right to examine contracts. That said, in general, an owner has a right to examine and copy contracts to which the association is a party, including the current management contract, if the owner makes a request in writing, and states a proper purpose for the request. That's a fairly simple threshold to meet.
Q. Can the board of our condominium authorize the local police to patrol the private streets and parking area in our association?
A. Yes, the Illinois Vehicle Code includes a provision that permits your condominium association to enter into a contract with your local municipality to patrol your parking areas. The law provides that a condominium association which controls a parking area that is located within the limits of the municipality can enter into a contract to authorize the municipality to regulate the parking of automobiles and the traffic at your association. Some may argue that this gives the police too much access to private property; however, on balance, most associations look favorably on the increased security that comes with the police patrols. If enforcement of traffic and parking regulations has been a problem in your association, it may be useful to contact your local police department and enter into an agreement that meets the specific needs of your association.
Q. Our condominium association does not have sufficient funds on hand in our reserve to replace a roof. Can the board borrow money to pay for the roof replacement? If so; what's the collateral?
A. The board of managers can borrow money. The collateral for the loan can be the right of the association to future income (assessments) from common expenses. Unless the condominium instruments expressly provide to the contrary, by a majority vote of the entire board of managers, the board can assign the right of the association to future income from common expenses or other sources, and to mortgage or pledge substantially all of the remaining assets of the association.
• 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.