Q&A: Questioning Association's Finances

Q My condo association has not revealed the bank that we bank at nor has the condo board members treated me fairly in depositing my assessments and pro-rations. What can I do about this without hiring a lawyer?

—Financial Examiner in Chicagoland

A “Most states that have condominium acts or some kind of state regulation for condominium associations usually require that associations make certain information available to unit owners,” says attorney James Stevens of the Chicago-based firm Connelly Law Group “Here, it looks like the unit owner is having problems getting access to basic financial information about the bank where the association keeps its accounts. Generally, unit owners can request this information from their association and associations are usually required to disclose the basics. If a unit owner wants to review actual account information, they will likely need to give a good-faith reason before they can access that information. At least in Illinois, a unit owner can get access to an association's bank records if the unit owner is concerned with the association's financial health. If a unit owner just needs basic information about which bank the association uses, it may be simplest to look at the endorsement on a returned assessment check to see which bank cashed it.

“On the issue of treating a unit owner fairly when it comes to depositing assessment payments, associations should deposit your assessment payment when you send it. Short of going to court for a long legal battle, you may have mediation options available in your state to help resolve condominium conflicts. Many declarations or covenants that establish condominium associations, at least here in Illinois, contain arbitration provisions or some kind of process for hearings. Unit owners can also petition for special meetings to address concerns before the board and the membership. It might be good to try these options to resolve disputes before heading to the courthouse.”

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