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Liability of Condo Associations for Damages Caused by Failure of the Common Elements

As a practitioner for many years in the area of association law, I have been aware of a long-standing difference of opinion among association attorneys as to the obligation of a condominium association to pay for damages caused to the

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How technology can save community associations time and effort

When a community association manager needed to know how badly the property’s gutters were clogged, Nik Clark had a solution. He launched an unmanned aircraft system, otherwise known as a drone.  It flew above the building’s roofline, and Clark and

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Seventh Circuit Finds Faulty Work Not a Covered “Occurrence”

In Allied Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Metro North Condo. Assn’     No. 16-1868, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4107 (7th Cir. Mar. 8, 2017), the Seventh Circuit had occasion to consider whether claims of faulty workmanship could constitute “property

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Don’t forget your Declaration: Appeals Court confirms necessity of the Declaration and Covenants in collection actions

The First District Appellate Court confirmed that Associations must be careful to enter their Declaration and Covenants regarding Assessment default into the record in a lawsuit to collect Assessments. In Blackstone Condominium Association v. Speights-Carnegie, (Feb. 3, 2017), the Appellate

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Recovery of Attorneys Fees in Litigation

One of the first questions we are asked at the outset of litigation on behalf of a condominium association is whether the attorneys’ fees we will generate are recoverable from the opposing party. The answer to that question depends on

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Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Third Party Buyer is Liable for Delinquent Assessments to Mortgagee’s Subsidiary

According to Section 9(g)(4) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, any purchaser of a condominium unit who acquires a property either at a foreclosure sale or by post-foreclosure purchase from the mortgagee must pay the last six months’ worth of

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Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Third Party Buyer is Liable for Delinquent Assessments to Mortgagee’s Subsidiary

According to Section 9(g)(4) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, any purchaser of a condominium unit who acquires a property either at a foreclosure sale or by post-foreclosure purchase from the mortgagee must pay the last six months’ worth of

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In a community association, who’s actually in charge?

It takes a village to run a community association.  This village typically is composed of an elected board and its officers, unit owners, perhaps a few committees and a hired manager. Each one has roles to play and responsibilities to

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Spring is Coming…Is Your Property Ready?

Winter, even the mild one we are experiencing, can wreak havoc on your property! Between the snow, ice, wind and cold, lots of repairs are made in the winter that need to be readdressed in the spring. Why are we

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Invalid Board Does Not Have Authority to Bring Lawsuit on Association’s Behalf

The Appeals Court of Illinois recently held that an association’s board of directors does not have authority to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the association if it is not formed properly according to the condominium’s governing documents and the

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Need a loan? Show lenders your association is a worthy investment

As spring weather approaches, big-ticket construction and repairs are coming up at many community associations. So is taking out a loan to pay for them. If associations qualify, that is.  Associations will be denied if their finances are in disarray.

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Reminder of 2017 Condo Law Changes (IL)

In case you missed them, here are highlights of new laws affecting condominium buildings in 2017:   Read the article………….

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Planning and Conducting a Successful Annual Meeting

Happy Birthday to your Association!! The annual meeting can be a chance for the current board to shine on the past year’s performance, promote the plans of the community, and answer the myriad of questions that come with being a

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Condo boards, look ahead to landscaping needs

While trees and plants may be dormant in winter, landscaping concerns never sleep. For community associations with trees and turf, the yearly landscaping contract starts around April 1, but outdoor environments shouldn’t be ignored until then.  “Many boards only think

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The Association…Cashing In On Rent (IL)

When filing a forcible entry and detainer action, our offices will inquire with the Association whether or not there is a tenant residing in the unit. The purpose of this is to establish if the tenant is a paying renter

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Help Your Board Stay Proactive in the Winter Months

Oftentimes Boards of Directors believe that after the holidays, they can catch a break for a couple of months prior to meeting and discussing Spring projects. They use Winter months as a ‘rest period’ from Board activities. Yet, the beginning

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OK to sue condo association for not granting access to dog-free elevators (IL)

A Chicago federal judge has cleared the way for Holly Geraci, the wife of prominent Chicago bankruptcy lawyer Peter Francis Geraci, to proceed with her lawsuit against the association that manages the condo building in which she lives, saying Geraci

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2017 Chicago Elevator Inspections & Recycling Ordinance Reminders

Previously, the requirement for the City Annual Inspection Certification (“AIC”) was that the elevators/devices in buildings located in the Central Business District were inspected on a yearly basis. The new requirement is for compliance (elevators must pass inspection before the

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Illinois Supreme Court Limits Scope of Snow and Ice Removal Immunity

Illinois law provides that any owner, lessor, occupant or other person in charge of residential property who “removes or attempts to remove snow or ice” from sidewalks is immunized from negligence claims arising from his or her acts or omissions

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7 ways condo boards can increase property values

The decisions and priorities of community association boards govern the daily lives of their residents. But those actions also have a huge impact on selling prices.  We asked several city and suburban real estate agents who work in the community

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Illinois Condominium Property Act Amended to Streamline Association Loan Procedures

Condominium associations often choose to finance major common element repair projects by obtaining bank loans. This type of loan is typically secured by the association’s pledge to the lender of all or substantially all of the association’s assets, including the

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Time to Update Your Association’s Declaration for 2017 (IL)

There have been quite of few changes to the Illinois Condominium Property Act (Condo Act) and the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act (CICAA), effective January 1, 2017. In light of these changes, as well as the many changes made

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Best Practices for Protecting Association Data

Hacking can be defined as the breach of a computer system in an attempt to exploit weaknesses in a network. As online commerce continues to grow and individuals search for ways to make bill paying more convenient, security threats are

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Amendments that become effective Jan. 1, 2017 (IL)

2016 was another fertile year for Illinois legislation affecting condominium and common interest community associations. This is the second of two columns that provides a summary of the amendments to the Common Interest Community Association Act and to the Condominium

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Dormant Season Pruning

Many of our associations were created and developed in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Trees and shrubs were part of the enhancements and have been thoroughly enjoyed over the years. Unfortunately, in all too many cases, they have been neglected over

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Vague ruling means uncertainty for slip-and-fall ice lawsuits in Illinois

Can you be held liable if someone slips and falls on ice outside your house? The Illinois Supreme Court says … maybe.  An Illinois Supreme Court opinion gives owners of icy sidewalks a reason to bust out some more salt.

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Changes coming in law for condo associations (IL)

2016 was another fertile year for Illinois legislation affecting condominium and common interest community associations. This is the first of two columns that provides a summary of the amendments to the Common Interest Community Association Act and to the Condominium

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Easy Way for Properties to Avoid Fines (IL)

With the holiday season upon us, many Associations are receiving numerous packages each day. As a result, the December and January months typically produce more waste and recycling than normal. With that in mind, there is an easy way for

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Guiding Homeowners through the Window/Door Architectural Request Process (IL)

One of the secrets to limiting the amount of conflict between the individual owners and the association at large is to be clear in guidance regarding the exterior standards for the association. For instance, in regards to window and door

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Lawyers Can Violate FDCPA by Making Factually Inaccurate Allegations in Bankruptcy Pleadings

Judge Castillo’s case involved a law firm that filed a motion to modify the automatic stay on behalf of a condominium association. The motion alleged that the debtors had not paid condominium assessments after being in chapter 13 for a

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IL Appellate Court Determines Extent of Immunity For Associations & Managers Under IL Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act

On December 1, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act (the “Act”), which provides immunity and limits liability for negligent removal of naturally accumulated snow and ice, does not apply to limit liability

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IL Supreme Court: Law shields homeowners from suits over snow removal, not ‘unnatural’ ice

The Illinois Supreme Court has put the freeze on certain slip-and-fall suits, by affirming an appellate ruling that the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act immunizes homeowners against suits arising from weather-caused slippery sidewalks, but not from ice buildup caused

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Winter Is Coming…Is Your Association Entering Into a New Snow Removal and Ice Control Services Contract?

With the impending snow season rapidly approaching, it is important for associations to be aware of certain provisions of the Illinois Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act, which was signed into law and became effective on August 25, 2016. Most

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What’s the Deal With Ice Dams

If you’ve never seen an ice dam, it actually looks a lot like you would expect. It is an accumulation of ice on along the eave line of a sloped roof. The ice can build and build over the winter

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8 time-saving strategies for community associations to avoid strain

For many community association residents, serving on the board is a rewarding experience. They guide how the money gets spent, and they reap satisfaction when improvement projects are successfully completed.  Board service also can be a frustrating, thankless chore that

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Requirements to Add Management Fees to Delinquent Owner’s Accounts

It is not uncommon for a management company to charge their own fees on the ledgers of a delinquent condo owner’s account when collecting unpaid assessments. Courts are now reviewing account ledgers with scrutiny so it is important for associations

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Electric Vehicles Projected to be 35% of New Car Sales in 2040: What About the Electronic Charging Stations?

Governments from around the world, including, China, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, U.K. and the U.S. are taking steps to combat climate change by increasing access to clean energy technologies and reduce dependence on oil. One policy focus has been on

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Management and Administrative Fees: Are They Collectible? (IL)

Oftentimes, management companies will include their own management fees (such as a collection turnover fee or trial witness fee) on the ledger of a delinquent owner’s account when collecting unpaid assessments. As courts are reviewing account ledgers with increasing scrutiny,

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Judge won’t force condo association to allow woman to rent condo as ‘reasonable accommodation’ (IL)

A 94-year-old Oak Park woman could not get a federal judge on her side in a dispute with her condo association, who she says owes her the right, under federal law, to rent her condo while she undergoes medical treatments,

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Kass: Checks and balances can protect associations against embezzlement

Q:  I have just been elected president of my 150-unit condominium association and have heard that some property managers throughout the country have embezzled association funds. How can we protect ourselves and our money?       Read the Q&A…………..

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New Appellate Ruling Increases Residential Builders’ Exposure to Defect Liability in Illinois

Illinois law on the implied warranty of habitability (IWH) is continuously changing, and residential builders should take notice of a new opinion issued by the Appellate Court, First District, on October 26 in a construction defect dispute. Although the procedural

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Panel: Chicago commission OK to order condo association to pay lesbian couple’s $68K legal bills

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations acted properly in awarding more than $68,000 in legal fees to a lesbian couple who had complained their building’s owners association had harassed and discriminated against them for being lesbians, a state appeals panel

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Remodeling? Beware of condo association rules

Your condominium is your castle, until you try to remodel it.  Associations have a say in the types of alterations that can be made and the materials that can be used. If you don’t follow their rules, you could be

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Navigating Electronic Notice and Voting (IL)

Generally, associations have the right to adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding their procedures and the operations of the association. This comes from Section 18.4 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act and general references in the Common Interest Community Association

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Caps on Special Assessments and Expenditures within Condominium Associations

In reviewing condominium association declarations over the past several years, on a number of occasions I noted a similar provision in many declarations which places a cap on the amount of a special assessment the board of directors can adopt

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Illinois Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act: Bad News for Associations!

The Snow Removal Service Liability Limitation Act became effective August 25, 2016, and eliminates common contractual remedies of associations.  In a “nutshell,” certain indemnity agreements in snow and removal contracts are now against public policy and void. Any snow and

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Risky Business: Discussing Association Matters in Emails

As well-known especially by those with teenagers, email has taken the place of ordinary telephone conversations and in-person communications. Unlike most telephone conversations and in-person communications, however, email communications are not ephemera. Rather, they live on in back-up tapes or

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New law loosens restrictions on community association board meetings (IL)

For community associations, change is afoot.  New legislation will ease some of the restrictions on how board members conduct their affairs, allowing them to convene privately for an expanded number of reasons starting Jan.1, 2017.  Both the Illinois Condominium Property

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Budgeting for Snow Removal Without a Crystal Ball

For community associations that maintain their own streets, exterior parking lots and sidewalks, snow removal services can easily be one of the highest budgeted expenses each year. In the real estate boom of the early 2000’s, buyers purchased homes without

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Associations work on annual budgets

Many associations are working on their annual budgets for 2017. Today’s column is devoted to issues that will help both the board and management understand the process.  The budget prepared by the board must set forth with particularity all anticipated

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