It’s time for the big election. And no, we’re not talking about Washington. We’re talking about the one that takes place annually in every co-op, condo building and homeowners association. It’s the election where unit owners have to appoint a board of directors to work with the association’s property manager to make sure the community’s finances, physical maintenance and other day-to-day business remains on solid ground.
Boards are generally elected by the community itself—although sometimes, boards are simply made up of a group of willing volunteers.
It Sounds Complicated...
But it doesn’t have to be. We scoured the rule books and grilled the best Chicagoland-area experts to explain how the election process works—and how to make it run smoothly every single time.
According to the Illinois Condominium Property Act, Section 18, the bylaws of each building should provide the rules regarding an election. More specifically—and most importantly, it states that the terms of at least one-third of the board members should expire annually.
Most boards try to stagger their elections so that the possibility of an entirely new board doesn’t happen at the same time, says David Hartwell, managing partner and principal of the law firm of Penland & Hartwell in Chicago. Sometimes, however, a contentious subject causes a quick turnover in the board. He remembers when a long-sitting board was overturned because of an issue that came up just one week before an election was to take place.