Remember that thick stack of documents you received when you bought your condo or co-op? If you're like most people, they're probably sitting in a drawer or in the back of your filing cabinet, communing with the dust bunnies, largely forgotten.
While quarantining all those densely-worded legal papers with the rest of the documents and slips that came along with buying the new place is tempting, it's time to excavate them, shed the dust, and reacquaint yourself, because those files are the first and last word when it comes to how your building is governed. They map out the responsibilities and powers of the board, dictate how finances are to be handled, and codify the rules and regulations to which all residents must adhere.
Most people—even board members—don't read their building or HOA's governing documents unless they have a specific question to answer, and residents are notoriously unfamiliar with them. This ignorance is the basis for a lot of misunderstanding and confusion between building administrators and their residents—and the first step to preventing those sorts of problems is to learn what exactly the documents are and why you and your building community need them.
According to Jeremy A. Gibson, principal business attorney of the real estate law firm Jeremy A. Gibson & Associates with offices in Chicago and Deerfield, Illinois. It all starts with the difference between condos and co-ops. In a condominium (by far the more common of the two in the Chicagoland area), each unit owner actually owns their apartment; it's their real property.
So the documents that condo owners receive govern the common areas, such as the hallways, the elevators, the lobby, the parking facilities, and any other shared spaces throughout the building,