Illinois laws controlling condos have changed dramatically. In some cases, condo boards may be following the requirements of outdated governing documents and may be unintentionally acting in ways that are contrary to the current laws.
Hickey Smith has worked closely with condominium associations and developed a simple and innovative process for conforming condominium declarations and bylaws to the current requirements. We know that condominium board members are extremely busy. As a result, we have highlighted the top changes in the condominium laws below, and if your condominium declarations or bylaws aren’t in line with these changes, we are ready to assist you to comply with the new laws at minimal time and expense.
1. Adoption of a written policy for resolving complaints
One of the most interesting changes involves the Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2016. The Act requires that by January 1, 2017, all associations must adopt a written policy for resolving complaints made by unit owners and prepare a complaint form for use by the owners. The policy must include a sample form upon which owners can make complaints, a description of how to make complaints, and a description of the resolution process.
2. Advance notification requirements for email notice of meetings
Recent case law has encouraged the Illinois legislature to change the requirements for the way your board can notify unit owners of upcoming board meetings. The new laws impose certain time requirements when your association sends out email notice of meetings. Email notice must be provided at least forty-eight hours in advance of the meeting, in addition to the duty to post notice of meetings at least 48 hours prior.
3. Notification timing: Proposed annual budget
An association board of directors can now mail notice of proposed annual budgets at the same time it gives notice of the annual meeting.
4. Clarified requirements: Open board meetings
Recent case law has clarified that all board meetings must be open to unit owners. The Illinois legislature has also clarified the Illinois Condominium Act so that any closed session can occur after notice of an open meeting, which is then converted into a closed session in part for the limited purpose of discussions related to (i) litigation involving the association; (ii) employment, (iii) rule violations, and (iv) unpaid assessments. However, any actions decided by the board in closed session must be voted upon during the open portion of the meeting.
The amendments to the Act also create an exception to the open board meeting requirements. This amendment allows a board to take immediate action to respond to an emergency. Additionally, the board must provide owners with notice of the event and a description of the actions taken within seven days of the occurrence, and a subsequent board meeting must later ratify the board action.
5. Board Meetings: Alternative means of notice and participation
The rules for notice of and participation at board meetings for members of the board have been clarified. Board members can now participate in board meetings by telephone or other electronic means. Effective in June of 2016, notice of the meetings can now be “given to every board member,” which means a notice by telephone, email, text message, door delivery or other means is sufficient.
6. Declaration amendments without owner approval
Finally, recent amendments allow a board to amend the association’s declaration to correct an error, omission or inconsistency and to conform the declaration to the changes in the law. This allows amendments without owner approval and does not require notice to or approval of mortgagees, despite a declaration provision to the contrary.
While this list highlights the most important changes to Illinois condominium laws, there have been other recent changes. If you think your board may not be following these new rules, it is in your interest to contact the condo and common interest community team at Hickey Smith for a review of your Association’s governing documents. It is time for an update using our innovative and efficient processes.
For more information, please contact one of our team leaders listed below.
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