Frequently Asked Questions – and Answers

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about our company.
We provide professional condominium management services to co-operatives, community associations and HOAs in the greater Chicago area, from the Illinois/Wisconsin border, south to Orland Park, and from Hammond, IN to Yorkville, IL, an area of nearly 5,000 square miles. Find out more about the areas we serve as Illinois’ property management leader.  
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Association fees are monthly assessments (dues) collected by homeowner associations from property owners. These fees are used to pay for amenities, property maintenance, repairs and long-term capital projects. The fees vary depending on the unique needs of each community.

Learn more about What Do Association Fees Pay For (
Your check should be made payable to your Association (e.g.; "ABC Homeowners Association" or "XYZ Condominium Association")
The homeowner elected Board of Directors sets the annual assessment. The Board may choose to receive guidance from the property management company and will often use resources such as a reserve study to determine necessary funding requirements for the community.
Learn more about What Do Association Fees Pay For (
We make it easy to keep everyone in your community informed with our FirstService Residential Connect™ software. It allows you to alert your entire neighborhood about everything from meeting schedules to severe weather updates.
Read more about our Mass Communication Tool.  Learn about FirstService Residential Connect, our property management software (
All communication should go through Customer Care Center, which has all your property details at their fingertips. Your property manager works directly with your board and is a second level of support for all contact at the property.
Need assistance outside of business hours? We've got a 24/7/365 Customer Care Center!
At FirstService Residential, out 24/7 Customer Care Center is an around-the-clock resource for everyone in your community. Our representatives are available to answer your questions and deliver world-class service to residents, board members and property management team. We do   our best to solve each problem on the first call, every time, and we score very high with our users in first-call customer satisfaction.

Find out more about our Customer Care Center.
Every corporation or association is different. However, the governing documents dictate what the association is responsible for and what the owner is responsible for. Some associations have developed a responsibility maintenance matrix which reflects the responsibilities as described in the governing documents, but in an easy-to-read table. If your community has a matrix, it will be on the community website, or you may request through the customer care team.
Check out our article Demystifying Maintenance and Repair Roles for Residents in Your Condo Association. 
Association Insurance coverage varies by each community and is dictated by the governing documents of the community. We suggest owners review their current Certificate of Insurance (COI) with a personal insurance agent familiar with association matters, to ensure there are no gaps in coverage between the master association insurance policy and the individual owner (HO-6) policy.
Directors and Officers Liability insurance covers the board of directors for legal action or claims brought against them from causes of loss such as breach of fiduciary or legal duty while serving on a Board or as an officer. Some of the most common types of claims are a breach of fiduciary duty, failure to adhere to or enforce the by-laws, discrimination of any kind, HUD/FHA-related claims, emotional support pets, challenges to the election process, architectural review decisions and employment practices liability.
A property component has a determinate useful life when it has a finite expected service life based on normal wear and tear or obsolescence. An example of a component that does not have a determinate useful life would be the structural frame of a building.
Read more about planning for replacements in Getting the Most out of Your Building: Preventive and Predictive Maintenance (
A reserve study is an evaluation of a property’s physical components and an analysis of its reserve funds. Based on a thorough on-site inspection, a reserve study details anticipated replacements or repairs to common elements and recommended annual reserve funding to cover capital expenditures for the next 30 years. The goal is to provide recommended reserve contributions that provide enough funds to cover the major expenses while also avoiding overfunding.
Learn more about Community Association Reserve Studies, FirstService Residential (
A reserve fund is needed because the Board has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain the common property of the association. The reserve fund amount should be based on the reserve study, which tells the board how much to save for future projects. The Board's focus should always be the SAFETY of the  residents and visitors, the INTEGRITY of the buildings and grounds and the PRESERVATION of  property value.
Learn more about Community Association Reserve Studies, FirstService Residential (
A special assessment is an assessment levied to finance a single project or undertaking. Distinguished from a regular assessment which is levied regularly for the regular operations of the association. Though levied only once, special assessments may nevertheless be paid in regular installments over a period of time. In poorly managed association, special assessments occur with some regularity.
Learn more in our article Community Association Terms You Should Know. Important Association Terms Every Board Member Should Know (
The Association is a non-profit corporation managed by a Board of Directors elected by the owners. The Board is responsible for the management of the Association's funds, the enforcement of the deed restrictions, and the maintenance of common area property.
The primary role of an association board of directors is maintaining the common property, managing the finances and creating policies that promote harmony between people living in a multi-family environment - perhaps for the first time. The board must meet regularly to set goals, interpret and administer the bylaws and make decisions for the community. Effective condo and HOA boards are those whose members respect each other and work together with a spirit of
Read more about the Five Essential People on Your Association Board.  Know the 5 Essential Roles on your Board (
Meeting minutes for a condo, townhome or community association are public documents. One of the secretary's main jobs is to accurately record the proceedings of board meetings in minutes and distribute them to the board for approval. Once approved, the property management company makes them available to those who need them for real estate transactions, mortgages, insurance and legal purposes.
Read more about the role of the Board Secretary.  What does the board secretary do? ( 
If the board president has a lot to manage, the vice president will often take on additional responsibilities. While the president will serve as the primary liaison with the property manager, the vice president must fill in and keep the communication going. The vice president is often the one that oversees these committees.
Read more about the Five Essential People on Your Association Board.Know the 5 Essential Roles on your Board (
The role of the property management company is to implement the decisions and policy established by the Board of Directors, to oversee the day-to-day business of the association and to administer the programs, services and activities of the association as established in its governing documents and as amplified or clarified by resolution of the Board of Directors or vote of the members.

Learn How to How to Hire the Best Property Management Company (
Property/Association Managers oversee the association’s daily management and operations. They help enforce rules, regulations and bylaws, administer board-approved policies and guidelines, and facilitate important tasks such as financials, mass communications, grounds and building maintenance, and other administrative tasks.
Learn more about What Makes a Property Manager Great, FirstService Residential (
The board president leads the board and is responsible for overseeing many of the procedural duties for their community. They set the agenda for the Annual General Meeting and  board meetings, maintaining order and keeping discussions on track. The president is responsible for the daily execution of the association's business and is the primary board contact for the community association manager.
Check out the The Eight Key Roles of an HOA President (
The community rules are located on your community website.

Want to learn more about setting good rules for your community, check our recent article, Learn About Creating Functional Condo & HOA Policies (
Bylaws are “rules that govern the actions of its members”. In this document, you might find topics like the requirements for membership, how often meetings are held, member voting rights, board member term length, quorum requirements, and duties of various offices of the board of directors. Bylaws are often subject to modification by the Board of Directors or by a vote of the membership of the association.
Learn About Creating Functional Condo & HOA Policies (
The homeowner-elected Board of Directors determines the rules for the community.
Are you a director for your HOA and want to learn more about creating rules and policies? Check our recent article, Learn About Creating Functional Condo & HOA Policies (
The minimum requirements in Board meeting minutes document action taken by the Board at the meeting. The Board secretary records meeting minutes and the level of detail varies by
Find out more about meeting minutes in our article What Does the Board Secretary Really Do? What does the board secretary do? (
The association bylaws will dictate the annual meeting requirements for your association.