One of the biggest challenges in condo living tends to be a lack of storage space for owners. Owners might have a small storage unit in the basement if they're lucky, and maybe a bit of extra space in a garage if they're extra lucky. In general, storage seems to be in short supply when it comes to condo living.
As a result, personal belonging often end up in hallways, entrance ways and stairwells. Shoes, bikes and baby strollers tend to collect in these areas. And while owners may have limited personal storage space, personal belongings are specifically prohibited from common areas by nearly every Declaration I've encountered. Common areas are not an appropriate place for your personal belongings and you may be open to fines if you store your stuff anywhere other than in your unit or assigned storage area.
Of course, every association has the right to make exceptions. Before you impose on the space that you share with your neighbors, you should communicate with the Board about whether or not it is permissible to leave anything in a common area.
To put it simply, there is generally no excuse for non-payment of your assessments.
Whether you have a leak in your unit that has not been fixed, or you disagree with the Board's decision about who was hired to perform the work on a project that necessitated a special assessment, or you feel the Board is acting irresponsibly by implementing a large increase to the annual budget, you are obligated to pay all assessments charged to your unit.
In order to dispute the validity of an assessment that has been charged, an owner would have to prove that the Board acted illegally or failed to adhere to the business judgment rule, which requires only that the Board acts within the scope of its authority in good faith to further a legitimate interest of the condominium.
The City of Chicago requires permits for a number of projects. This ensures that the projects adhere to city codes and minimum standards and promotes the safety of your building.
You can find a list of projects that require permits on the City of Chicago's Dept. of Buildings website. You can also find information on the Easy Permit Application process, which can be completed online to obtain a permit for certain projects.
Before you begin any repair, replacement or construction project and when interviewing contractors, be sure that you (or your contractors) obtain the proper permits required by the city!
Certain topics are off limits in open Board meetings. Those topics must be discussed during a closed portion of the meeting, which non-Board member owners cannot attend. Per the IL Condo Act:
"(4) Meetings of the board of the master association shall be open to any unit owner in a condominium subject to the authority of the board of the master association, except for the portion of any meeting held:
(A) to discuss litigation when an action against or on behalf of the particular master association has been filed and is pending in a court or administrative tribunal, or when the board of the master association finds that such an action is probable or imminent,
(B) to consider information regarding appointment, employment or dismissal of an employee, or
(C) to discuss violations of rules and regulations of the master association or unpaid common expenses owed to the master association.
Any vote on these matters shall be taken at a meeting or portion thereof open to any unit owner of a condominium subject to the authority of the master association."
While the Board cannot discuss the matter in an open session, any vote to act in regards to the matter must be conducted during the open portion of the meeting. If there are sensitive topics to discuss, the Board can conduct a closed portion of the Board meeting prior to the open meeting so that votes can be taken during the open portion.
Just a quick post about suspected gas leaks. We have gotten a few emails from clients lately who think there may be a gas leak in their unit or the building. We don't handle building maintenance for our clients and we are not on 24/7 call, but regardless, we shouldn't be the first point of contact for an issue such as a gas leak. As a gas leak could result in serious consequences, it's important to call the gas company immediately if you suspect a leak.
The emergency phone number for Peoples Gas is 866-556-6002. This is the number that should be used for reporting suspected gas leaks.