Q&A: Changing the House Rules

Q. Can the board change house rules without a vote? The condo declaration states no pets in or any property of the condominium upon approval of the board in writing. The house rules were changed from no pets to pets allowed and two per unit by the board without a vote or meeting. Can this be done without having a vote?

                                            —Who’s Right?

A. “The board must vote on rule changes,” says attorney Matthew Goldberg of Bancroft, Richman & Goldberg, which has offices in Chicago and St. Charles. “A failure to do so means the rule is not enforceable. Section 18(l) of the Illinois Condominium Property Act provides that the bylaws shall provide for the method of adopting and of amending administrative rules and regulations governing the operation and use of the common elements. At a minimum, Section 18.4(h) of the Act provides a minimal process whereby the board must send out the full text of the proposed rules to all the unit owners and call a unit owners meeting for the purpose of receiving unit owner comments on the proposed rules. While the unit owner meeting requires the same 10-30 days prior written notice as for elections and budget meetings, the big difference is that no quorum of unit owners is required for a rules meeting as the purpose of the meeting is merely for comment. The ultimate decision to adopt the rule remains with the board. Typically a board meeting immediately follows the unit owner meeting at which the board officially adopts the new rules. Additional procedural requirements may also be found in the declaration and bylaws of the individual association.”

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