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Community association’s unshoveled sidewalks aren’t necessarily a liability

Q: I live in a small suburban community association, and with winter snowstorms upon us, we are at the mercy of the snow removal company’s snow removal schedule. What is the association’s liability if a traffic accident occurs on our private road after a snowfall, or if a person slips on the pavement that was not shoveled, before the snow is cleared by our snow removal contractor?

Answer: As a general rule of law, when snow falls naturally, the property owner will not be liable if an injury occurs; but conversely, when snow is disturbed by the conduct of a person, such as shoveling or plowing snow, there will be potential liability if the conduct is the proximate cause of the injury and the person who disturbed the snow is in breach of a duty.

Facility liability is quite specific. Generally, if there is a delay in plowing or plowing snow and a person slips on freshly fallen, undisturbed snow, this does not automatically create premises liability.

Q: I own a small condominium association with three board members. We recently had an election and the new board member elected behaved so badly that two other board members resigned shortly after the election. At the next board meeting, the remaining board member appointed two individuals to the resigned board positions without prior notice to unit owners or the need for an election. Is this ok?

A: Section 18(a)(13) of the Condominium Act sets out the process by which the condominium board can fill vacancies on the board. This article states that a vacant board seat may be filled by a 2/3 vote of the remaining board members, who may appoint unit owners to serve until the next annual election. Alternatively, if 20 percent of unit owners petition to be filled for the remaining term of office, a meeting of unit owners shall be held within 30 days from the date to fill the unexpired portions of the resigned board members’ terms.

Therefore, in a three-person board where two members resign, the single remaining member constitutes 100% of the remaining board members and therefore has the authority to appoint two unit owners to the vacancies by the next annual meeting unless 20% of the board members resign. has. A petition to be filled out by the flat owners is submitted for the remaining part of the signed board members’ term of office.

Q: I am on the board of directors of a small, new construction condominium association. We are currently negotiating with the developer of the project for construction defects, and it is my understanding that recent Illinois case law may be advantageous to community associations that have claims against developers. Is this true?

A: On November 30, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously overturned decades-old Illinois law regarding coverage under commercial general liability policies; This is a positive development for community associations that have claims against a community association developer; The developer can now obtain insurance coverage for the developer, thus creating deep pockets to pay for potential damages for construction defects.

The Illinois Supreme Court held in Acuity v. M/I Homes of Chicago, LLC that the “your business” exclusion under commercial general liability policies does not bar contractor coverage for unexpected and unintentional property damage resulting from the insured’s faulty workmanship. Previously, Illinois followed a relatively narrow interpretation that prevented such news from being published.

Do you have a question for the Apartment Consultant? Email ctc-realestate@chicagotribune.com.

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