By: Matthew O’Malley
The last 24 months have been unprecedented. Every industry and individual has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is helpful to reflect on some of the lessons we can learn from this pandemic, and I have gained the following insight through my representation of condominiums and community associations in the Chicago-land area.
First and foremost, be reasonable. If you are serving on a Board or a unit owner, always try to work things out before anything escalates. Condos and HOAs are communities after all, and many times those who are in dispute are neighbors and have to live with one another. Trying to work through the issue at hand in an amicable and level-headed manner goes a long way and saves a lot of money. Once I get involved and the issue is in court, costs skyrocket. I really try to tailor my approach to be proactive and avoid litigation so that my clients are on solid footing and avoid those expenses. However, if there is an issue that needs to be litigated, I am also able to handle it.
Another one of the more obvious lessons is we should plan for unexpected events. We all stand to benefit when we have emergency plans in place. This may include a business continuity plan, adequate IT security and software, leadership succession plan and other adaptions to effectively keep your association going. It is important to have reserve funding as well.
These have been very tough times for us all. A smile, acting as a good neighbor and “doing the right thing” will pay in dividends. When possible, be flexible to work through disputes with unit owners, vendors, employees and other businesses. Minimizing stress and maximizing compassion is a win-win. Negotiation is an effective strategy and may save you money in litigation expenses.
Finally, during the pandemic, it was easy to lose sight of the evolving nature of laws that apply to your association. However, now that we are entering a new phase of COVID-19, now may be a good time to evaluate governing documents to ensure that they are compliant. There are many issues to consider, including considerable updates to the law.
Tressler LLP recognizes that each client has diverse needs. We are available to help you. I invite you to drop me a line or contact me for a complimentary consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (312) 627-4052.