Unit owners may vote to allow board compensation

By David M. Bendoff

Q: We are looking for ways to attract owners to run for the board of our condominium association, and "money talks." Can condominium board members be compensated for their service on the board of directors?

A. The bylaws of a condominium, per Section 18(a)(3) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, are to provide for "the compensation, if any, of the members of the board." A typical provision of an association's bylaws provides that the decision to compensate board members must be approved by some percentage of the unit owners, usually two-thirds. Seldom do an association's governing documents allow the board to establish board member compensation without approval of the owners.

Note that some associations waive assessments, or some portion of assessments, for board members. That "forbearance" of assessment collection could be considered compensation to the board member, and would not be permitted in a condominium even with owner approval. Also, such practice will either result in a shortfall of assessment income, or require the other owners to make up the difference.

That said, association board members could nonetheless be reimbursed for their actual out of pocket expenses, if any, incurred as a member of the board.

Q: My townhouse association has been blacktopping resident driveways every two years. This year the board decided, after a property walk-through, that it will postpone this service for a year. The rationale is most driveways are in good condition. My driveway is not in good shape. Can I pay the same company our association uses for driveway blacktopping so I can have the work done this year?

A: You would generally not have authority to decide on your own to perform this blacktopping service to the driveway, even if at your own expense using the association's contractor. The governing documents for your association may discuss owner requests of this sort in some general fashion. In any event, you should make a written request to the association, through its board or property manager, if any, for permission to do this blacktopping work yourself at your expense. The board's decision regarding your request would need to made at a board meeting.

Q: The board of directors of our association scheduled a meeting over the Memorial Day weekend. One of the owners complained and said it was illegal to schedule a meeting over a holiday weekend. Did the board violate any law?

A: In general, the board may schedule a board meeting over a holiday weekend, and even on a holiday itself, if it is so inclined. That would be a business decision of the board. Sometimes there is important board business that can't wait until after a holiday. Other times, a holiday weekend may be the only time board members are around to meet.

Do note that some association declarations fix the annual meeting of the owners to some date and include language about when the meeting would be held if that date falls on a holiday.

Q: The members of our condominium board are confused about filling of board vacancies. A board member resigned in the first year of a two-year term. Can the board appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the balance of the two-year term?

A: No, the board may not appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the remaining balance of the two-year term.

Rather, under Section 18(a)(13) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, the remaining members of the board can fill the vacancy by two-thirds vote only until the next annual meeting of unit owners. At the next annual meeting, the owners would vote to fill the remaining portion (one year) of the term of the board member who resigned.

• 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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