Q: Are there any laws that describe what insurance the association and owners in a common interest community association are required to maintain on the units and common area?
A: The Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act provides that the resale disclosure statement, provided to prospective purchasers, must include a statement setting forth what insurance coverage is provided for all members or unit owners by the association for common properties. However, the law does not mandate any particular insurance for the units and common area. The types and amounts of insurance to be maintained by individual owners and the association, with respect to the units and common area, is going to be governed by the association's declaration and bylaws. Often, these provisions are sparse or confusing. The association could consider an amendment to the governing documents if the governing documents are not clear or adequate on the important issue of insurance.
Q: The property manager for our association has been evasive about whether he is licensed. How can I find out if he is a licensed property manager, and how do I make a complaint of he is not?
A: The Illinois Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act governs the licensing of community association managers. Licensing is overseen by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The IDFPR website includes a "License Look Up" and "File a Complaint" feature. The "License Look Up" feature allows you to type in a name and see if that person is licensed. The "File a Complaint" feature will walk you through the complaint process and includes forms. Both features can be accessed at www.idfpr.com/profs/cam.asp.
Q: I have been asked to become a board member of my association. How does a person educate themselves about being an association board member? Are there classes, online forums, that I can use to gain that education? I have started with the association rules, definitions and reading the budget. However, I feel I need broader knowledge to make effective decisions.
A: It is absolutely essential that a new board member become familiar with the association's governing documents, like the declaration and rules, and ongoing issues. Review of meeting minutes and the budget can help. As you note, though, that isn't enough to educate a board member.
Community Associations Institute has a vast library of resource materials available on its website under the "Bookstore" tab. CAI's web address is www.caionline.org. The Illinois Chapter of CAI publishes a magazine that provides timely information on community associations, condominiums and townhouses. CAI-IL's web address is www.cai-illinois.org.
CAI and CAI-IL, as well as the Association of Condominium, Townhouse & Homeowners Associations, whose web address is www.actha.org, also offer seminars and events that provide education to board members. Membership in these organizations (in which I have been a member and involved in for decades) is valuable for associations and their board members.
The Real Estate Division of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, that oversees the Condominium and Common Interest Community Association Ombudsperson Act, also has resources at its website: www.idfpr.com/CCICO/.
• 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.