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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 expenses.

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




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