S.G. from Cook County, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Last year we elected the new condo Board of Directors. According to their budget analysis, they decided to increase the assessment each year by 15% to increase the reserve fund. Also, they decided at the same time to implement the 13-th month assessment to speed up the reserve fund accumulation. It is a hidden assessment increase more than by 15% per year. Is it legal to implement so high increasing of assessment during one calendar year? We didn’t have meeting of all condo owners to adopt or decline this assessment increase, the owners were just received a small wall note about it and the new coupon books with increased assessment. What can we do to resist it if it is illegal?
Mister Condo replies:
S.G., I am not an attorney nor do I offer any legal advice in this column. If you feel your legal rights have been violated, you should speak with a locally qualified attorney. While I applaud the Board for taking acting to restore the integrity of the condo association’s Reserve Fund, they must follow state law. The 15% increase to fees may be allowable but also adding a so-called 13th month assessment means they have actually gone beyond the allowed 15% increase without bringing the matter to the unit owners. You should alert the Board if they are out of compliance with either your governing documents or state law and allow them to react. If they do not comply with the condominium governing documents and/or state law, you or any other unit owner (or group of owners) could sue the association for violation of their rights under the governing documents or state law. My guess is they will conform to the laws once they are aware they are out of compliance. By showing a commitment to restoring the association’s Reserve Fund, they are showing their commitment to do the right thing. Now, they just have to do it the right way. All the best!