Smoking is still a very hot topic for condo boards. Smoke of any kind can easily travel between units and through common elements, creating health issues for all owners.

If your association is experiencing issues with smoke, the best course of action is to attempt to amend your Declaration to prohibit smoking in units as well as common areas. This measure requires a 2/3 vote of the unit owners, at minimum, to pass. If you cannot garner the necessary votes for an amendment, there are other steps the board can take to mimimize the the nuisance. 

The associaton's Rules & Regulations can be passed by the board without an owner vote. These rules can prohibit smoking in common areas and impose fines for violations. The board can also require any lease in the building to contain a "No Smoking" clause to address rented units. Owners are required by the IL Condo act to provide a copy of any lease to the board, which allows for the review of this required clause. Again, the board can impose fines for violation of this requirement and for any smoking that occurs in rented units.

Every measure adds up. Continue to poll your owners for support of a smoking ban in the builidng and take smaller steps until you can accomplish this.


The City of Chicago's Shared Cost Sidewalk Program allows property owners to share the cost of sidewalk repair with the city. This can dramatically reduce the expense of repairing sidewalks around your building and increase the curb appeal and safety of your property.

Applications open on Monday, January 11th at 6 am and fill up quickly. Learn more and apply here.

Has your association been charging a Move In and/or Move Out deposit? If you are collecting money and returning it after the move is complete, you're missing an opportunity to put additonal income into the association's bank account to cover necessary maintenance over time.

Entryways, hallways and stairwells can take quite a beating each time an owner or tenant moves into or out of a condo building. This is particularly true if your associaiton has a large number of rental units. Eventually, repairs and maintenance need to be completed to mitigate dings and scrapes and freshen up these common areas. Move In and Move Out Fees (rather than deposits) can help to cover this work when it needs to be done.

Charging a fee, which the association keeps, is less complicated and more financially attractive than a deposit. These funds are added income to the association, and boards don't have to worry about holding payments or issuing refunds after a move. 

Note that a Move In/Move Out Fee is separate from a charge for any serious damage done to the common elements by owners or tenants. The association can also charge the cost for those repairs back to the offending owner. Simple wear and tear, however, should be covered by the fee.

It's a new year and a great time to re-examine your association's processes for moves. Move In/Move Out Fees are is a simple way to promote financial health in your association.

2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least. As we look ahead to 2021 and the change that is on the way, we encourage our readers to embrace the opportunity for a fresh start. More than ever, it is clear that we are all connected and interdependent, from our small condominium communities to our neighborhoods, our cities, the country, and the world. Be kind to each other, give support where you can, and find support when you need it. We are truly all in this together. and Haus Financial Services are here to support you and your association through the challenges you face, both large and small. We can help make condo living easier, particularly in the most stressful of times. If you are struggling to do it all, please reach out. You do not have to manage alone!

A very Happy New Year to you and yours. Stay safe and may we all enjoy a healthier, successful 2021!

The City of Chicago has a Christmas tree recycling program that turns trees into mulch for the Chicago Park District and residents. Free mulch is available starting in mid-January. 

Find more details on the program here.

Get additional information about holiday recycling and more from Recycle by City: Chicago's website.

Happy Holidays from!

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