Q&A: Fighting a Board Alone

Q

How can condo owners contest a condo board without hiring a lawyer? Are their rules impeachable? Can we contest a fine? They assess owners to pay legal fees if we start proceedings. Is that fair?

—Amazed and confused

A “Contesting a condominium board and the decisions they make are first governed by the strictures of the condominium documents, bylaws, rules and regulations,” says Chicago-based attorney Robert Lattas. “A board can not institute rules that are illegal or criminal. If something is illegal, and the board is unwilling to change, then hiring an attorney may be your only choice to assist in the matter.Remember, condominium ownership is communal in which everyone must abide by certain rules. It is important to review all of these rules BEFORE purchasing your unit and to be active during meetings.Major rules governing the condominium usually need to be voted on by the association and should not be created by the board.A fine may be able to be contestable and their rules impeached depending on (1) what the bylaws say and (2) the nature of the rule and fine (criminal, illegal, etc.).”

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