Condo association election draws much interest
Q: We have elections coming up for positions on our homeowners' association board of directors. Several completed "Statement of Candidate Forms" were received and time stamped several minutes before the official filing start time. This apparently was caused by the property manager, who normally opens her office for business at 10 a.m. When the property manager arrived in the building that day, she saw several people lined up in front of her office. She simply time stamped their forms at the actual time -- several minutes prior to the 10 a.m. start time. Are these candidate forms acceptable?
A: Initially, I do not immediately recall an association establishing a start date for the submission of a completed candidate form. Typically, prospective candidate forms are distributed to owners and a completed candidate form must be returned to the association by some deadline.
In any event, I do not envision a court is going to invalidate a candidate form for a condominium election merely because it was submitted a few minutes before the "official" start time to submit such forms. That said, a candidate form submitted after a deadline could absolutely be invalid.
What I find most interesting about this situation is candidates were actually lined up waiting to submit a candidate form for a position on an association board!
Q: Can an association regulate the use of drones on the property?
A: Drones may used by residents for hobby and recreational purposes and residents may receive commercial deliveries via drone. The use of drones for these purposes will require associations to consider the adoption of appropriate rules and, potentially, amendments to their recorded covenants. For example, these regulations need to consider (but unlikely to cover every issue): establishing designated landing areas for commercial deliveries, time restrictions on use of drones, privacy concerns and identifying where drones can and cannot be flown (near windows), liability concerns (require residents who use a drone or who receive a commercial delivery to indemnify the association), and registering resident drones like motor vehicles.
Q: I "lead" a group of investor owners in a large condominium community. The board meets very infrequently. The bylaws require the board to meet at least four times a year. The board might actually meet one time a year. We've asked for the past board to meet more frequently so owners can be present during their decisions. Also, the association has not had an annual meeting for an election in two years. The annual meetings don't meet quorum and aren't really broadcast to all owners. What can we do?
A: The board is required to meet at least four times a year, pursuant to the Illinois Condominium Property Act. In general, decisions of the board need to be made at board meetings, open to the owners. Failure to do so is a breach of fiduciary duty. A suit could be filed seeking an order to require the board to hold at least four board meetings a year and to require the board to hold open meetings to make decisions.
With respect to the annual meeting, there are any number of associations that cannot achieve a simple quorum of 20% of the ownership, so no election takes place. To me, that is inexcusable. Why an owner would not want to participate in elections for the board that administers what is probably their largest asset is beyond me. If the board does not do enough to get owner interest in attending the annual meeting, you, as an owner, should make a concerted effort to collect proxies from owners to ensure the annual meeting and election goes forward.
• 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.