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Q&A: No Election

Q. My HOA board has not had an election in 10 years! They keep reappointing themselves and appointing their friends to the board when there is a vacancy. Is this legal? How can this abuse of power by my HOA be stopped?

                          —Exasperated Stakeholder

A. “Because the question refers to an ‘HOA,’ the first portion of this response presumes that the property is not a condominium,” says attorney Charles T. VanderVennet of the Law Office of Charles T. VanderVennet, P.C. “The condominium perspective will follow.

“For the most part, election requirements and procedures for non-condominium associations are controlled by the governing documents. There is little statutory guidance on those topics. However, Section 1-25 of the Illinois Common Interest Community Association Act (CICA) provides some framing for board elections and vacancy appointments: an election must be held no less frequently than once every 24 months [Section 1-25(a)]; board member terms must be limited to no more than four years though board members may succeed themselves [Section 1-25(d)]; a defined procedure for filling vacancies is provided including a method for the owners to act [Section 1-25(e)]; and a procedure for the owners to bring to court the failure to hold an election within the time period specified in the bylaws (except if the failure was due to lack of quorum after proper notice was given)[Section 1-25(g)].

“Section 18 of the Illinois Condominium Property Act (CPA) sets forth requirements for what must be contained in a condominium association’s bylaws. Provisions applicable to board elections and vacancy appointments include: there must be an election from among the unit owners of a board of managers elected at large with the terms of at least one-third of the board members expiring annually [Section 18(a)(1)]; a defined procedure for filling vacancies including a method for the unit owners to act [Section 18(a)(13)]; and there must be an annual membership meeting, one of the purposes being to elect board members [Section 18(b)(3)].

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