Board can appoint, not remove, a member
Q: The board of our common interest community association appointed a person to fill a vacancy. The person who was appointed to the board turned out to be a complete "failure." Because the board appointed this person, can the board now vote to remove this director from the board?
A: While the board had the authority to appoint a person to fill a vacancy on the board, the board alone cannot remove this appointee from the board. The Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act provides that "two-thirds of the membership may remove a board member as a director at a duly called special meeting." Therefore, a vote of the owners in the association would be required to remove a director from the board; whether the board member was elected by the owners or appointed by the board.
Q: I am concerned about the structure of our association's board of directors. In a prior condominium I lived in, there was a vice president, who had a very active role. There is no vice president in my current condominium. Should we have a vice president?
A: In Illinois, the required officers of a condominium are a president, secretary and treasurer. A vice president is not required. That said, the declaration or bylaws for an association often provide for a vice president. The role of the vice president is usually to carry out the responsibilities of the president if the president is unavailable. For example, the vice president will preside over meetings if the president cannot attend.
Q: Our board struggles with motions to approve contracts. Can you provide a sample format?
A: Here is a sample motion to approve a contract: "Motion to approve the agreement between ABC Condominium Association and XYZ Contractors dated (date), 2021, on the terms and conditions set forth therein, subject to review by association's counsel."
Q: What is the Palm Act and what does it have to do with condominium associations?
A: There is no "Palm Act." Many people incorrectly refer to a "Palm Act" when they are actually referring to the Palm court decision. The Palm decision is a 2014 Illinois appellate court decision captioned Palm v 2800 Lake Shore Drive Condominium Association.
The Palm decision addressed numerous issues concerning board meetings, communications and decision making. Some of the "sting" of the Palm decision was soothed by amendments to the Illinois Condominium Property Act that address issues like emergency decision-making by a board, and that expanded the issues a board can discuss outside of a board meeting.
Q: A unit owner in our condominium association has requested a list of the names and addresses of the owners. Does this owner have to state any sort of a purpose for obtaining these records of the association?
A: An owner no longer needs to state a "proper purpose" in order to examine and copy books and records under Section 19 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act. However, depending on the records requested, an owner may be required to certify in writing that the information contained in the records will not be used by the member for any commercial purpose or for any purpose that does not relate to the association.
Q: Can a condominium prohibit an owner from installing a satellite dish on the common element roof?
A: The association can prohibit the installation of satellite dishes on common elements, other than the limited common elements. Examples of limited common elements would be a balcony, terrace, or patio serving an individual unit and designated as such in the declaration.
• 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 and housing cooperatives. This column is not a substitute for consultation with legal counsel.