Q. We live in a community that forbids owners from displaying any flag. With Independence Day coming up soon, is this prohibition enforceable?
A. The display of flags is governed by Section 18.6 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act ands Section 1-70 of the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act. 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 an owner's unit 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.
The American flag permitted to be displayed under Section 18.6 of the ICPA is defined in Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the U.S. Code. It states: "The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be forty-eights stars, white in a blue field." It further states: "On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag."
That said, a board may adopt reasonable rules and regulations, consistent with the U.S. 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. Can the board of our condominium have meetings via conference call?
A. The Condominium Property Act provides that board members may participate in and act at any meeting of the board of managers in person, by telephonic means, or by use of any acceptable technological means whereby all people participating in the meeting can communicate with each other. The board member's participation in this manner constitutes attendance and presence in person at the meeting. This is set out in Section 18(a)(9)(B) of the Condominium Property Act.
Note that owners would have to have an ability to "attend" the open portion of board meetings; even those conducted in this manner. This can be done by having a speaker type phone or other technology at a location (like the meeting room) where owners could listen to the meeting. Some associations use a technology that permits owners to dial into, but not participate in, the board meeting.
Of course, notice of the board meeting would have to be given for the board meeting conducted this way.
Note, too, that even if the board is meeting at a place like the meeting room, a board member who is out of town (for example) can participate in the meeting through the above described technology.
Q. Can the board of our association take action to approve meeting "minutes" outside of a properly-noticed board meeting?
A. Board meeting minutes must be approved at an open board meeting. The minutes of the meeting where the prior meeting minutes are voted on and approved must so reflect this approval.
Q. Can the board of our condominium association contract for cable television and internet service on a bulk basis? Is this charged to each unit as a flat fee?
A. Section 14.3 of the Condominium Property Act addresses this issue. The board is authorized to obtain, if available and determined by the board to be in the best interests of the association, cable television or bulk high-speed internet service for all of the units of the condominium on a bulk identical service and equal cost per unit basis. The board can assess and recover the expense as a common expense. Further, the board can assess each and every unit on the same equal cost per unit basis.
• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs. 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.