Condo Board Charges Entertainment Fee
Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A
REM #LAW 644
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: A condo board hires comedians and
singers for the common area and then asks residents to pay extra fees. If the
resident doesn't pay, they are not allowed in the common area. Sam and Ilyce
talk about reviewing the condominium documents for your association and the
laws in your state.
Q: Can a condo board assess every unit owner a fee for entertainment expenses
such as comedians and singers?
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It appears in our building that few residents are interested in the entertainment
that’s being offered and don’t want to cough up cash to pay the
The other problem is that the board members refuse to admit people to the common
areas who have spoken out against having the entertainment. We thought the assessments
we pay each month were for “common areas,” meaning that they’re
open to residents, and not for the exclusive use of a few board members who
want others to pay for their selfish entertainment.
A: You bring up a good point. If you review your condominium documents you
should be able to determine what powers the board of directors of the association
has to spend money.
In most cases, the powers of the board of directors of an association are limited
and are specifically outlined in the condominium documents. Some of their powers
include the ability to decorate, manage, maintain, and repair the common areas
or common elements of the association. Typically, condo boards do not have the
power to provide building entertainment.
In addition to the condominium documents for your association, the laws in
your state can play a part in your situation and may actually broaden the scope
of some of the powers of the board of directors.
You will need to take a careful look at your association’s declaration
and by-laws. Take particular care to read the provision that refers to the power
of the board of directors. Some associations hire a people to help the unit
owners with chores and minor repairs, others have doormen and people to work
the receiving room, and still others have staff to help unit owners with medical
needs or mini-buses to help people with shopping.
The issue then becomes at what point does the hiring of an entertainer go beyond
the scope of the powers of the board of directors of the building? If the entertainment
is available to all owners, it’s probable that the board is able to charge
all owners for the service.
The real issue is if you and the many others in your building that do not like
how the current board of directors is managing the building, you should work
to elect other individuals to the board of directors.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce
R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your
Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for
them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022
or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com