Property management can require requests via the web

Q: The board of our association, in conjunction with management, has implemented a procedure whereby all requests for service must be submitted to the management company through its web portal. I emailed a board member with an ongoing maintenance problem. Rather than suggest it would be handled, she directed me to use this procedure. Isn't this a breach of the board member's fiduciary duty?

A: The procedure you describe is one adopted by many associations that are professionally managed. The process recognizes that professional management has been retained to address these matters, and utilizes resources/processes like a web portal and experience of professional management in dealing with owner issues.

That said, matters may be escalated by management to the board if necessary. On its face, the procedure is not a breach of the board's fiduciary duty.

Q: The developer of our condominium entered into several long-term contracts for the association that appear to be with entities related to the developer. Is the association bound by these long-term contracts?

A: The Condominium Property Act does provide a procedure to terminate certain long-term contracts entered into by the developer. Upon election of the first unit owner board of managers (a turnover from the developer to the association), any contract, lease or other agreement made on behalf of the association that extends for a period of more than two years from the date of the turnover and election is subject to cancellation.

In order to cancel a contract that meets the above-described criteria, the vote of a majority of the unit owners is required (other than the developer, which may still own units) at a special meeting of members called for that purpose. The meeting must be held during the 180-day period beginning on the date of turnover.

Note, too, that the developer is required to provide copies of the contracts entered into by the association to the board within 60 days after turnover.

Q: Our association purchased an empty lot located next to the association. The lot is used for resident parking. How can a condominium have the real estate taxes for an association-owned property eliminated?

A: For purposes of property taxes, real property owned and used for residential purposes by a condominium association is supposed to be assessed at $1 per year. This would eliminate any real estate tax liability for the association. However, the property in question has to be subject to the exclusive right by easement, covenant, deed or other interest of the owners of one or more condominium properties and used exclusively by the unit owners for recreational or other residential purposes.

The balance of the value of the property is supposed to be assessed to the condominium unit owners; who would pay real estate taxes on this parcel as part of their unit tax bills. That is the theory anyway.

Further, in counties containing 1 million or more inhabitants, any person desiring to establish or to reestablish an assessment of $1 needs to make an application with the county assessor.

Q: We have an internal "friendly" battle at our association over an issue. What is the difference between a regular board meeting and a special board meeting?

A: In general, if the declaration or the bylaws, or the board of directors, fix the dates of the meetings, it is a regular meeting. All other board meetings would be a special meeting. That is, a special meeting is typically an unscheduled meeting that is called to address a specific issue or issues.

• David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs. Send questions for the column to him at The firm provides legal service to condominium, townhouse, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives. This column is not a substitute for consultation with legal counsel.

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