When to release members' personal information

Posted1/18/2014 12:33 AM

Q. The board of my condominium denied my request for a list of the names and addresses of unit owners in the association. I am a real estate agent and I told the board I want to mail my marketing materials to the other owners. Don't I have a right to this information?

A. The board of managers of every association must keep and maintain certain records at the association's principal office. This includes a current listing of the names, addresses and weighted vote of all members entitled to vote. Members of an association have the right to inspect, examine and make copies of the member list, but only for a proper purpose.

In order to exercise this right, a unit owner must submit a written request to the association's board of managers or its authorized agent. The request must state, with particularity, the records sought to be examined, and state a proper purpose for the request. The board could have concluded that a request for the owner list to be used for a personal business purpose is not a proper purpose, and properly denied the request.

An example of a proper purpose for requesting the names of the owners would be that the owner wants to solicit votes for an upcoming election for the board.

Q. I am on the board of my association. I can't attend some of the board meetings because I travel frequently for my job. Can I give my proxy to another board member to vote on my behalf?

A. No. A board member may not act by proxy on any matter.

The rationale for this is partly because of the fact that a board member is a fiduciary. As such the board member votes following full discussion, consideration and deliberation on a matter, and can't delegate this responsibility to another person.

Q. Is there any way for a board member to participate in a board meeting if the board member will be out of town and cannot physically be present at the meeting?

A. Yes. A director may participate in and act at any meeting of the board through the use of a conference telephone or other communications equipment. However, all persons participating in the meeting must be able to hear and communicate with one another. This is best accomplished with a speaker phone or through video conferencing.

The board member attending remotely would be counted toward a quorum of the board and can vote on matters.

Q. Our association recently adopted an amendment to our declaration and bylaws to restrict leasing of units. The board notified owners that the amendment had been approved and recorded. Is the board required to send a recorded copy of the amendment to all owners?

A. The board is generally not required to send a recorded copy of the amendment to the declaration and bylaws to all owners as a matter of course. However, an owner who makes a written request is entitled to receive a recorded copy of the amendment. The association may charge the owner the actual cost of copying the amendment.

Some associations automatically mail every owner a copy of a recorded amendment to the association's governing documents, at great expense to the association. The better approach may be to promptly issue a written notification to all owners that the amendment has been recorded, state the date of the recording, and indicate that a copy of the amendment will be made available upon written request. This way, the association is not wasting money on postage and copying to provide a document that may, unfortunately, just end up in the garbage.

• 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.

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