A Board Too Far When Boards Overstep Their Authority

Having a disinterested, apathetic board is a problem in some buildings, though a board that oversteps the boundaries of its power or invades the privacy of residents, also can cause hassles. By educating and informing themselves of the extent and limitations of their influence, a good board should be less apt to go beyond its authority, and less likely to incur acrimony (and possible legal costs) for the community they serve.

Reading Up

All association board members should know about the legal and ethical boundaries within which they are expected to operate, since understanding those parameters will help them determine when to exercise caution, consult their professionals, and so forth. Ignorance of these boundaries can lead to troubles, and even unnecessary lawsuits.

Generally speaking, a co-op board is the governing body of a corporate entity which owns the property and is landlord. A condo board is in charge of management of common areas of the building, like hallways and recreational areas.

The extent of a condo board’s fiduciary duty is laid out in Section 18.4 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, says Mathew Goldberg, an attorney with the Chicago-based law firm of Bancroft, Richman & Goldberg, LLC.

A board’s powers relative to cooperatives are primarily spelled out in the Illinois General Not for Profit Corporation Act or the Illinois Business Corporation Act, and in any given community’s bylaws under “board powers” and “duties and responsibilities.” Some of those responsibilities include keeping peace and order, maintaining adequate insurance coverage, making rules for the community, and carrying out other managerial duties.


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  • What's the best way to handle violations being made by the board members. The other unit owners are intimated and want no part of voting for new board members. Present board members break all the rules but expect owners to follow them? Would love to know of attorneys that protect the unit owners.