Order of protection issue stymies board
Q: A resident in our condominium association obtained an order of protection against another resident of the condominium; the two residents live in the units next door to one another. The order of protection requires the one resident to stay a certain distance from the other resident. The resident who obtained the order of protection has asked the association to disable the other resident's key fob so the resident cannot get in the building. Is this something the association is required to do?
A: Generally speaking, an association is neither required to disable the key fob, or advised to do so, under this circumstance. If the association disables a key fob so that a resident cannot get into the building or into their home, the association will be committing an unlawful forcible entry and detainer. That would expose the association to liability for damages that result from that action. The association should only consider disabling the resident's key fob here if there is a court order that actually bars the resident from the property (for example, an eviction order).
Q: The board of our association asked our property manager for information as to who is paying assessments for a particular unit. This is because the actual ownership of the unit is "fuzzy" as the unit is held in a trust, and this information may assist the board in dealing with an issue related to the unit. The property manager responded to the board that the information is "confidential" and that the name and address could not be shared with the board. Shouldn't this information be provided to the board?
A: The relationship between an association and a property manager is known as a "principal-agent" relationship. The property manager is the agent for the association. Associations act through their board of directors. An agent is a conduit for information; not a filter of information. If an agent has information that is relevant to matters entrusted to the agent, the agent has a duty to inform the principal. The information requested here is to be shared with the board of the association by the property manager.
Q: Are contractors who do work for a condominium association required to provide proof of insurance to the association?
A: Section 12(i) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that contractors and vendors (except public utilities) doing business with a condominium association under contracts exceeding $10,000 per year must provide certificates of insurance naming the association, its board of directors and its managing agent as additional insured parties. This section does not address the specific types or amounts of insurance to be procured by a contractor. This should be addressed in the contract between the contractor and the association. The association's insurance agent should be consulted as to the types and amounts of insurance that should be required of the contractor.
Q: The declaration for our condominium requires the association to procure property insurance for improvements and betterment to a unit made by an owner. This can result in significantly higher insurance premiums attributable to specific units where such improvements have been made. Can the increased premiums be charged to the units whose improvements are being covered, resulting in the increased premium?
A: Section 9(b) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that the condominium declaration may provide that common expenses for insurance premiums be assessed on a basis reflecting increased charges for coverage on certain units. Many declarations include similar language to permit increases in premiums for unit improvements and betterment to be charged to the unit in question. This assumes that the association's insurance agent can break out these additional premiums and for which units.
• 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.