Pamela Dittmer McKuen writes about residential real estate, home design trends and community associations for the Chicago Tribune and ...
August 3, 2015
After Kevin Marvinac enrolled in graduate school and his girlfriend joined a nonprofit organization, money was tight. So they listed the second bedroom in their North Side condominium as a short-term rental on the home-sharing website Airbnb.com.
July 22, 2015
A community association's board makes the rules, but some rules work better than others. Those that are ambiguously worded, improperly adopted or inconsistently enforced stand a good chance of being ignored by residents and challenged in court.
July 7, 2015
A year ago, a controversial court decision challenged the ways community association boards do business. Today many are figuring out how to live with it.
June 15, 2015
Community associations are run by volunteer boards, but even the best ones can't do the job alone. They need a team of professionals to guide them through the thorny maze of communal living.
June 1, 2015
When you're looking for answers about running your community association, a good place to start is at one of the many industry conferences and trade shows. Dozens of professionals including managers, accountants, attorneys and roofers are on hand to share their expertise.
May 20, 2015
To uphold their fiduciary duty, boards must run their community associations according to governing documents, applicable law and good business sense. Some responsibilities are given to all board members, while others are assigned to specific officers.
May 6, 2015
Sooner or later, every community association will face an expensive remediation project. Roofs eventually leak, and boilers conk out. Sidewalks, parking lots and tennis courts require periodic resurfacing. Hallway carpeting wears and tears.
April 21, 2015
Community associations need a minimum number of voters to elect board members, or the election cannot take place.
April 7, 2015
The winter has been harsh and long, but relief is on the way. Landscapers are cleaning up the grounds, and outdoor swimming pools will open in a few weeks. Perhaps it is time to plan a community association party.
March 24, 2015
In the not-too-distant future, community associations could launch camera-equipped, unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, for many routine tasks. They will be able to examine buildings for leaks and damage, check on the performances of contractors and find illegal barbecue grills on upper balconies.
March 9, 2015
Community associations need two pots of money, an operating account and a reserve account. The first is for paying day-to-day bills, and the second is for occasional big-ticket items like roofs and boilers.
February 24, 2015
A common misconception about the community association lifestyle is you don't have to do anything. Taking care of the property is someone else's job, or so many buyers believe. It's not true.
February 10, 2015
The second stage of Chicago's Building Energy Use Benchmarking Ordinance has kicked in, and for the first time many residential buildings must comply. Residential buildings include condominiums, co-operatives and apartments.
January 26, 2015
Illinois community associations may now communicate electronically with their owners, but that doesn't mean they can cut their paper and postage budgets. Many practical details must be worked out before any savings are realized.
January 12, 2015
Choosing a manager is one of the most important decisions a community association will make. Because managers are closely involved in daily functions and future planning, their performance — or lack thereof — has a major effect on the association's financial stability and resident satisfaction.
November 17, 2014
Chicago's oldest high-rises are running out of time to comply with the Life Safety Evaluation Ordinance. Owners have until year's end to make their buildings safer in event of a fire.
November 6, 2014
Most board members at community associations are well-intended homeowners who want to do a good job. But few have expertise in property management, much less the legal and financial nuances of their decisions. Mistakes frequently occur.
October 21, 2014
When shopping for a condominium or town house, checking out living spaces is easy. But getting information about building maintenance or the inner workings of the association is much harder. Until now.
October 11, 2014
Get a bunch of community association homeowners in a room and what do they talk about? Money, money and snow.
September 26, 2014
For most community associations, cooler weather signals the start of budget season. It's the time of year when boards and finance committees hammer out the next year's expenses and income.
September 12, 2014
Condominium assessments continue to go up, and so do the bills for taking care of the buildings.
August 29, 2014
The Community Association Manager Licensing and Disciplinary Act is undergoing its first major revision.
August 4, 2014
The communications mainstay for community associations long has been the printed newsletter, either mailed to owners or slipped under doors.