Meetings 101 Establishing Guidelines for Governance

If you live in a condo or a co-op, you’ve probably noticed that your building has at least one annual shareholders’ or unit owners’ meeting each year.

It’s not random. The annual meeting is actually an Illinois state-mandated law that requires cooperative corporations and condominium associations to meet one a year to do their annual public elections. It’s incredibly important that all buildings follow this rule— so that every owner and board member has a say and a vote and can control what happens in their building.

Since the meeting is mandated by the state, there are many rules that have to be upheld, but there are also ways to make it run smoothly and efficiently to avoid conflicts and problems.

The entire purpose of the meeting is to elect directors, which must be chosen at large from amongst the owners. Further, the terms of at least 1/3 of the directors must expire annually, says Kerry Bartell, a principal with the Buffalo Grove-based law firm of Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, with locations throughout the Midwest.

In Illinois, the governing authority that mandates an annual meeting for condo buildings is section 18 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act, which is an Illinois-state law. For co-ops, the governing authority is simply their shareholder’s agreement and their own bylaws, says Mark Pearlstein, partner in the Community Associations Service Group, chairman of the Illinois Legislative Action Committee of the Community Associations Institute (CAI-IL) and a partner with the law firm of Levenfeld Pearlstein LLC in Chicago.


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  • Our condo has 300 units with diverse ethnicity. There is a lg. group of people that don't read, write or speak English. They feel most comfortable with their own ethnic group and started a "petition" to oust the current vendor. What are the stipulations for a "petion"?