Q&A: Can Non-Homeowners Serve?

Q I am the vice president of a small condo community and we are trying to find out if non-homeowners can serve on our board. Several of the homeowners would like renters to have a proxy vote. However, being a proxy and voting for an absent owner is different than having the privilege to serve on the board. Our bylaws clearly state that board members must be homeowners.

—Concerned in Chicagoland

A Condominium associations are governed by the provisions found in the Illinois Condominium Property Act,” states Kelly C. Elmore, an attorney and principal with the law firm of Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit with offices in Chicago, Buffalo Grove, Naperville and Racine. “Section 18(a) of the Act states that the association’s bylaws must contain language clarifying that the election of the board of managers must be from “among the unit owners.” Section 18.2 of the act, which discusses administration of the condominium property, also refers to the board as the “unit owner board of managers.” As a result, because the act requires unit ownership as a prerequisite for candidacy, only unit owners may run for and be elected to the board. The absence of any language in the act providing for non-unit owners to run for and be elected to the board signifies that only unit owners may be elected.

“The act does create an exception for “installment contract purchasers.” Section 18(b)(11) provides that where an owner is selling a condominium unit to a new purchaser pursuant to an installment contract, the purchaser of the unit shall be permitted to vote in the Board election, and shall have the right to be elected to and serve on the board, unless the seller of the unit expressly retains that right. Note that in order to qualify under this exception, the installment contract purchaser must reside in the unit.

“With respect to proxies, a unit owner may select any individual to be his/her proxy holder and to vote a proxy on behalf of his/her unit ownership. A proxy holder may be a neighbor, a friend, a board member, or even a tenant. There is no requirement in the act that requires that the proxy holder be a unit owner. To the contrary, Section 18(a)(18) clarifies that any proxy distributed for board elections by the board shall give the owner the opportunity to designate “any person” as the proxy holder.”

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