Sunday, April 12, 2009

Advisory Council Proposal Ready for Review

In an article in today's Chicago Tribune, Pamela Dittmer McKuen outlines recommendations made by the Condominium Advisory Council of Illinois, which is nearly finished with its year-long assignment to identify the most vexing issues facing condominium owners and associations, and figure out how to fix them.

A draft proposal is in writing, ready for a final round of commentary before it is submitted to state lawmakers. Committee member Rep. Harry Osterman (D-Chicago) is seeking comment until April 21. To obtain a copy of the draft proposal, call his office at 773-784-2002 or e-mail

The proposal contains dozens of recommendations. Some are semantic and others require significant change. Two issues are critical: the adverse effect of foreclosures on associations and protecting owners from dishonest, underfinanced or inexperienced developers, said Osterman.

"We heard a lot about the financial hardship foreclosures put on associations, whether they are big or small," he said. "We want to help them recoup some additional costs from those sales."

The proposal also calls for developers to put money in escrow until after the project has been completed.

Other recommendations:

• An ombudsman's office will be created to investigate complaints and provide educational materials for owners and buyers. A mediation panel will hear disputes between willing and aggrieved parties; the decisions of the panel are binding.

• Property managers must register with the Department of Professional Regulation and complete at least 20 hours of continuing education every three years.

• Owners must purchase insurance for their personal property and the interior of their units.

• Smoking will be banned in common areas.

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