Q&A: No Board Quorum

Q I am a unit owner in a condominium. The board of managers should consist of 5 members, but for the last five or more years, there have only been 2 people serving on the board. These two make all the decisions for the entire condo. Since a majority vote of the required 5-member board would be 3, are their actions actually legal? I read somewhere that at least 1/3 of the board is supposed to stand for election or re-election every year. The board claims that there aren't enough unit owners present or available by proxy for a quorum to hold a vote, and they continue year after year. They make no effort to encourage people to vote or to be present for election. What should we do and is this legal?

—Concerned in Cicero

A “The operating documents are the controlling authority and will set out the number of directors and their powers and duties,” according to Sima Kirsch or the Law Office of Sima L. Kirsch, Attorneys at Law. “The concern about lack of participation is a common situation. Would a court sanction what a board such as yours is doing? Probably not.

“However, there is no easy remedy. If an owner is not happy with the board, there are three choices: follow the procedure set out in the operating documents to bring an issue before the board; fill the third spot; or court intervention. If the owner chooses to resolve this issue through legal channels, the court will look to see if the available remedies provided in their declaration have been exhausted. If not, this may color a court’s decision.

“If the court finds the board to be acting without authority and no one else steps up, the court may appoint a receiver/manager to run the association or order the association dissolved. As always, without having the benefit of reading your documents, this is a global answer to your questions. In addition, this information is not provided as legal advice and you should consult an attorney in the field who can help you assess your particular factual situation.”

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Comments

  • I am a condo unit owner with 54 units in our building. My unit is on the 2nd floor facing south. My neighbor's 2nd floor unit faces west. We are cornered from each other. She is a smoker and sits on her balcony quite often. I enjoy having my glass balcony door open to let the fresh air in. The problem is the cigarette smoke drifts into my unit. I don't like the smell and not to mention I end up breathing it into my lungs. I can't sit out there let alone having to close my door. Can I do something about it. Before she purchased the unit I was able to sit out there and enjoy the fresh air. also being able to open my glass door. Do you have any suggestions ? Our condo association documents state that the patio's and balconies are limited common areas.