Many CAI members look over the annual event calendar just to see when the Conference or the Golf Outing is scheduled, and in doing so overlook one of CAI Illinois’ most valuable resources for homeowners and board members – the Homeowner’s Forum. The name can be misleading, as most association board members hear this phrase and think of the section of their board meetings when homeowners get to air their grievances. Recently, we’ve updated our name to give you a better understanding of what we do: the Homeowner’s Forum is now “Ask an Industry Professional – Homeowner’s Forum”.
What exactly do we do? First, we assemble a panel of Condo and Homeowner’s Association Professionals from a variety of industries – community management, banking, financial, legal, property maintenance, and more! Then, unlike the standard educational session, we let YOU, the audience, speak. While the professionals briefly introduce themselves so you can learn their areas of expertise, there is no planned presentation or slide show. Rather than a rushed Q&A at the end of an education session, the entire Forum is time for participants to ask questions of the panelists.
The best part? Attending an Ask an Industry Professional Homeowner’s Forum is FREE for board members, unit owners and other community volunteers! No two Forums are the same, so many attendees find it beneficial to come out as often as possible – luckily there are four more opportunities for you to attend this year!
Our first Forum of 2017 was held in March at the CAI Office, and, while we did have a few questions submitted during registration, most were brought up during the course of the event as different subjects arose. Our most lively topic was led by our legal panelist, with in-depth conversation on the “Palm” case law as well as the recent changes that went into effect for CICAA and the Condo Act to make it easier for associations to accomplish their goals. We also discussed some methods to get things done without “illegal” meetings, such as appointing committees or commissions to perform research and make recommendations to the board, and delegating certain functions to management or a specific board member.
The Asphalt/Concrete and Landscaping/Snow Removal maintenance professionals in attendance helped give some insights on understanding proposals and what type of specifications to look for in bids your association receives for projects such as sealcoating, mulching, and more; as well as giving suggestions on what to be looking at in relation to this type of maintenance during the coming year. There was also some conversation about governing documents, especially making changes to the documents and rules enforcement.
Our moderator led those in attendance through many topics with the help of our professionals; the panelists gave great feedback as to what steps your community should be taking to make sure business is being done properly, such as having the correct insurance coverage, making sure your reserve funds are being kept separately, your meeting notices are being given appropriately, and having great record keeping, particularly if you are looking into a loan. There’s no other educational offering that brings such a wide variety of topics together in one session!
Our next Forum is coming up on June 27 in Gurnee, so start thinking of your questions now so you can get as much insight as our professionals can provide. If this date or location doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of options to attend no matter where you live or work, including September 20 in Chicago and October 24 in Tinley Park. We’ll also be hosting a “virtual” Homeowner’s Forum via webinar November 9, so you can call in or log in from anywhere!
We hope to see you at one (or more!) upcoming Ask an Industry Professional – Homeowner’s Forums!
Lea Marcou, CMCA, AMS, PCAM- Co-Chair of the Homeowner’s Forum Committee