Can board take action against dog's owner?
Q: An owner's dog has a history of attacking my dog on the condominium association's common elements. These incidents have been captured on the association's security camera. The association's declaration has clear language about pets and nuisance. I have complained to the board about the owner's violation of this covenant. The board's response has been that this is a matter between me and the other owner and not the association. Shouldn't the board be enforcing the declaration here?
A: The board does have an obligation to enforce the covenants contained in the association's declaration. If credible evidence of a violation of the declaration is presented to the board, the board does need to address the violation.
Q: Citing the surge in COVID-19 cases, the board of our association has not allowed owners to attend its recent board meetings. In other words, the board members are holding board meetings that are not open to owners. Does the board have a valid reason to exclude owners from the board meetings?
A: I appreciate the board's concern about COVID-19. However, it is not a valid excuse to bar owners from board meetings. That is because the board can conduct its meetings via conference call, or video conference, or similar technology, rather than meeting in person. The board should use these options and permit owners to attend the open portion of these "virtual" board meetings.
Q: The declaration for our condominium allows owners to vote in elections via proxy. Our association does not have any rules in place regarding elections and proxies. The election materials that were sent out by the association for the upcoming annual meeting states that completed proxies must be mailed back to the association. I would prefer to deliver my proxy to the person I have designated as my proxy. Must I return the proxy to the association, or can I deliver it to my designated proxy?
A: In the absence of rules on the subject, the association should allow you to deliver your proxy to the proxy holder. The proxy holder would bring the proxy to the annual meeting, and your proxy holder would receive a ballot for your unit. For those associations that do require proxies to be mailed back to the association, the unit owner needs to make sure the person appointed as their proxy knows this and will be at the meeting to vote on the owner's behalf.
Q: The board of directors of our condominium association filled a vacancy on the board via an email exchange and email vote among the remaining board members. Was this proper?
A: The board may not fill a vacancy on the board via an email vote of the board. The vote to fill a vacancy on the board by the remaining board members needs to take place at a board meeting that is open to the owners.
Q: Many years ago, the board of our association adopted a resolution that authorizes the treasurer of the association to have signature authority on association bank accounts. The board received a letter from the association's bank requesting an incumbency certificate. What is an incumbency certificate?
A: An incumbency certificate, also known as a certificate of incumbency, is a document issued by a corporate entity, like a condominium association, that identifies the names of the directors and officers. That is, it identifies, by name, each board member and what position they hold on the board.
The incumbency certificate is typically issued and signed by the secretary of the association, as keeper of the records.
• 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.