Q&A: Finding Members To Serve On Boards

Q “We are a 38-unit condo complex. We have had trouble finding owners to serve as board. Can we require owners to serve at least one term on the condo board during the time that they are owners of a unit? Can we permit them to pay a fixed amount in lieu of not serving on the board?”

—Short on Service

A “Chances are, you can not mandate someone to serve on the board,” says Chicago-based attorney Robert D. Lattas. “This would be akin to slavery and likely not an enforceable provision of your condominium declaration's rules and regulations. Rather, what should be done, is the member of the association should vote someone into office through normal elections. Certainly at least one person would be willing to serve on the board. That one person can serve the role of multiple officer positions and, depending on what your condominium declaration says, may even be allowed to serve all positions. The other condominium owners would pay assessments in accord with the budget or as set by the members of the association. If the association should decide to give the board member(s) a reduction of their assessments because of their service, that would be acceptable. Remember, the rules and regulations of the condominium association are usually voted on and in place through a vote that takes places in a quorum. So long as the rule that is passed does not violate any law, is not a crime, etc., then the other condominium owners need to abide by these rules.

“Additionally, a condominium of your size will likely be managed by a management company. If the other condominium owners allow it, they may also be allowed to serve in some sort of pseudo-director position. That is, they are given the same authority of any director who is an owner in the condominium complex though they do not have a vested interested in the condominium association.”