New Kids on the Block Orienting New Board Members

So the votes are counted, and the new board members are officially chosen. Now what?

Many people join their co-op or condo board because they hope to jump right in and make major changes to their building or association. Lowering assessments, repairing balconies, suing unlawful residents and fixing up the lobby are common quick fixes that most Chicagoland board members plan to tackle as soon as they are given the opportunity.

Aspirations aside however, many new volunteer board members have no idea what to expect from the job—and when they do have an idea, their expectations may be completely different than reality.

New on the Job

Shortly after Cindy LeDonne bought her Illinois condo, she decided to run for the board president position, the better to fix the building’s finances and replace the garage roof. Since taking on the presidency however, she’s been bombarded with many different building issues that she never anticipated—and it's often tough to know exactly how to proceed.

For example, one of the owners in the building smokes, and the smell of the cigarettes constantly drifts into the adjacent unit. The condo's bylaws don’t allow for offensive odors to enter another unit or common area, and the smoker claims to have purchased an air filter, but the neighbor says there’s been no improvement. Now, LeDonne says she has to figure out the board’s next step.

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