Page 14 - CooperatorNews Chicagoland Winter 2022
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14 COOPERATORNEWS CHICAGOLAND  —WINTER 2022  CHICAGO.COOPERATORNEWS.COM  Professional Property Management  for Chicago’s Finest High Rise  Condominium Associations  Community Specialists  205 North Michigan Avenue / Suite 2930  Chicago, Illinois 60611  312.337.8691 /  Time for a new   Time for a new   CBU?  CBU?  Mailbox Installations and Repairs   Mailbox Installations and Repairs   Mailbox Fast LLC  Mailbox Fast LLC  Wheaton, IL  Wheaton, IL  630-215-7343  630-215-7343  Before  Before  Make Your Life Easier with   Make Your Life Easier with   setts, but not any longer. From a condo   standpoint, everything gets digitized.   The majority of new paper we receive to-  day comes from new business inherited   from other companies sending their stuff   to us as new management.”  An Accountant Weighs In  Avi Zanjirian, a partner with the   Manhattan-based accounting firm of   Czarnowski & Beer, sees digitization as a   positive trend for accounting in the co-  op and condominium sphere—but he   does note some points of concern. For   example, digitized information is easily   accessed, and can be accessed from any-  where—which is extremely convenient,   but also poses some risks. “No one wants   cabinets of paper for seven years,” he   says, “but if everything is digitized on a   server and you have closing statements,   bank statements, transfers, etc., personal   information must be secure. If you keep   that on the Cloud and you get hacked,   that’s a potential problem.  “We do live in an age where we can   digitize everything,” Zanjirian continues.   “In terms of workflow, especially these   past two years, we didn’t have to go into   an office and we could do all our auditing   work digitally. That provided for more   efficient work, and clients didn’t have   to make room for us in their office. But   still, anything with personal information   must be kept securely. These documents   should not be open to everyone in the of-  fice.”  Lastly, Zanjirian points out that with   the possible exception of mortgage docu-  ments, nothing really needs to be kept in   both digital and paper forms.  Scanned   documents stored online are protected   and more secure than paper—but Zan-  jirian stresses that when scanning docu-  ments, it’s vital to make sure the entire   doc is scanned; those doing the scanning   should make sure to check for double-  sided sheets, and that pages aren’t stuck   together. If someone feels the need to   keep paper copies, one year should be   enough time to retain most documents.   As more and more of our administra-  tive and personal lives move online and   into the Cloud, building and association   managers, attorneys, accountants, board   members, and—when appropriate—  residents need to have access to crucial   documents, while also being assured that   those documents are stored securely and   appropriately. With everything in one   easily accessible place, tasks like audits   and reviews become easier to complete.   The key is security and conscientious care   when transferring and storing records.  n  A J Sidransky is a staff writer/reporter for   CooperatorNews, and a published novelist.  DIGITAL DOCUMENTS  continued from page 13  of objectionable behavior are living with   an illness or disability that may cause or   exacerbate that behavior. Sometimes, as in   the case of hoarding, the behavior itself is   a symptom. In these cases, association and   co-op boards must act in accordance with   fair housing laws, which “prohibit hous-  ing providers (including co-ops and con-  dos) from discriminating against protected   classes, including people with disabilities,”   says attorney Scott J. Sandler Jr. of Sandler   & Hansen LLC, a law firm based in Middle-  town, Connecticut.  “Associations are typically empowered   to address health and safety issues,” ex-  plains Sandler, “but the practical use of that   power  is  limited.”  In cases  where mental   or emotional disability is a factor, the let-  ters and fines  that are normally used to   curb violations are likely to be less effec-  tive, and the protections afforded to people   with disabilities can make more aggressive   actions—such as eviction—fraught, if not   impossible. In these situations, “The associ-  ation must proceed very carefully,” contin-  ues Sandler, “because it could be accused of   violating federal fair housing laws.”  Sandler goes on to suggest that owners   and shareholders aggrieved by their neigh-  bors’  behavior  might  be  better  off  taking   matters into their own hands, since they   are not constrained by fair housing laws.   “Sometimes it makes more sense for an   individual owner to proceed with his or   her  own  legal  action,  rather  than  the  as-  sociation doing so at the expense of the   community. The governing documents of   many communities contain provisions that   prohibit behavior that interferes with the   rights of other owners to peacefully enjoy   the use of their units,” he says. “Many own-  ers expect the association to enforce these   provisions. However, these provisions are   incorporated into the governing docu-  ments to provide owners with their own   causes of action against a neighbor who is   interfering with the peaceful enjoyment of   their unit. Remind \[residents\] of their right   to seek a legal remedy on their own behalf.”  The Nuclear Option  When a violation is persistent, egre-  gious, and goes uncured after requisite   notice, then a co-op or condo may have   no choice but to proceed with an eviction.   Managers and attorneys alike say that this   is  never  an  option  to  be  pursued  lightly,   and should only take place when all other   remedies have been exhausted.   But once again, COVID interferes. First,   quarantines and lockdowns, then eviction   moratoria, and finally court closures and   backlogs have made an already time-con-  suming  and  complex  process  even  more   difficult and  drawn  out.  For  co-op  and   condo residents dealing with a disruptive   or disturbed neighbor (and likely dealing   with them more frequently and with more   DEALING...  continued from page 6

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