Unit owners authorized to do business from home

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Q: Our association’s restrictive covenants prohibit the use of units for commercial purposes. One of the owners is a salesperson who represents several different clothing lines for different companies. He has created a company for this purpose and uses his unit as the company’s registered office. Does the use of the unit as the registered office of the company violate the clause prohibiting commercial use of the unit?

A: Merely using the unit as the registered office of the owner’s company is not likely to violate the commitment to prohibit commercial use of the unit. In addition, the typical provision that prohibits the commercial use of a unit expressly allows owners to receive business calls and mail at the unit and to store business records in the unit.

Q: Our condominium association has a three-member board, with staggered terms. Each member of the board of directors has a two-year term. As a result, there are one or two seats open each year on the board. Is there some kind of restriction on the number of candidates who can run for the board of directors in a particular election?

A: There is no limit to the number of owners who can run for the board, and in general (with some limitations) any owner can run for a seat on the board.

Q: Shortly after being elected to the board, one of the board members resigned. Is the board required to fill the vacant position with the candidate who received the most votes at the last annual meeting but who was not elected?

A: Whether it is a condominium or a community association of common interest, a vacancy on the board can be filled by a two-thirds vote of the remaining board members, subject to other limitations. in the statutes governing these types of associations. However, unless there was unusual language in the statement, the board would not be legally bound to fill the vacant position among any of the last nominees. annual meeting. There may be political considerations, however, to doing so.

Q: Our association has adopted a rule providing for postal ballots instead of proxies in the annual election of board members. Owners are expected to mail their completed ballots to the association’s accountant. Does Illinois require the ballot box for mail-in ballots to be located at the association?

A: Illinois law provides that mail-in ballots may be mailed to the association or its designated agent. This would allow the board to provide that ballots completed by mail should be sent to the association’s accountant.

Mail-in ballots do not need to be placed in an actual ballot box at the point of delivery. However, appropriate measures should be taken by the association or its agent to properly secure the ballots received and to deliver all ballots mailed to the annual meeting for counting.

Q: I understand that a homeowner in a condominium association can film a board meeting. Can the board impose restrictions?

A: The Illinois Condominium Ownership Act provides that any unit owner of a condominium or main association may record the proceedings of board meetings, or parts thereof before them. be open to owners, on tape, film or other means. However, the board may prescribe reasonable rules and regulations to govern the right of an owner to make such recordings.

Recording meetings can be disruptive, intimidating, and create security concerns. A board of directors should address these issues by establishing rules that will disrupt the meeting as little as possible without prejudicing the rights of unit owners. The proactive board will find that adopting rules regarding the recording of board meetings will serve to reduce the likelihood of unpleasant and time-consuming skirmishes with unit owners during a meeting.

• David M. Bendoff is a lawyer with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in suburban Chicago. Send him questions for the column at CondoTalk@ksnlaw.com. The firm provides legal services to condominiums, townhouses, homeowners associations and housing co-ops. This column does not replace consultation with legal counsel.


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