Management can ban unit owners from office

Q: Contemporaneous with the turnover of our condominium board and replacement of our on-site property manager, certain unit owners and former board members have been banned from the management office. The banned individuals have not been subjected to any rule violation hearing. This action has intimidated other unit owners from contacting the property manager with their concerns and inquiries. Is the board acting within its powers?

A: Pursuant to the Condominium Act, the board is granted the authority to administer the association and common elements, which may, under appropriate circumstances, warrant prohibiting unit owners from entering a common element management office. Such a prohibition almost exclusively occurs when a property manager is being harassed or threatened. Most declarations and bylaws contain provisions that unit owners may not engage in noxious or offensive activities.

If the unit owners refuse to comply with a directive prohibiting them from entering the management office, the unit owners may be subject to applicable association remedies, which could be fines and/or a declaratory lawsuit.

Q: I am the secretary of a self-managed town house community. It has been our association's policy to not provide contract purchasers with copies of the minutes of our association. An attorney is now questioning our policy. Are we required to supply board meeting minutes requested by a purchaser's attorney?

A: Noncondominium community associations are governed by the Common Interest Community Association Act. Section 1-30(i) of the act requires the board to make available to its owners for examination and copying board meeting minutes for the last seven years.

Thus, while the board is not required to provide meeting minutes to prospective purchasers directly, the board is required to deliver copies of board meeting minutes to the selling owner, who would then deliver such minutes to their contract purchasers. In the spirit of cooperation with individuals who will become owners, the board might want to reconsider its policy.

Q: Is a petition signed by at least 20 percent of condominium unit owners sufficient to terminate the management company of the association?

A: A petition signed by at least 20 percent of the unit owners has no authority or weight regarding the goal of terminating a management company. Per Section 18(b)(5) of the Condominium Act, a petition signed by at least 20 percent of the unit owners may call a special meeting of the owners, but any resolutions adopted at such meeting cannot bind or mandate a board to act.

Pursuant to the association's bylaws, and Section 18.4 of the Condominium Act, the board of directors is granted the authority to administer the association and make governing decisions.

Further, even if the board were to support terminating its management company, the association is subject to the termination provisions of the management agreement. An unauthorized termination will subject the association to liability.

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