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The All-Powerful Condo Association

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Curbed University delivers insider tips and non-boring advice on how to buy, sell, or rent a home or apartment. Additional questions welcomed to Curbed Chicago's tipline.

Headed by elected board members, condo associations seek to protect condo owners' shared investment in the building. Though created to protect its residents, those who fail to gel with their associations suffer the consequences. (Just look at what happened to Morty Seinfeld.) The association's influence over your well-being can't be underestimated.

Some condo associations are great, but we've also heard our share of truly terrifying association horror stories. Before investing in property, find out if the building has already been handed over to the condo or homeowners association. If it is, be sure to study up on their governing literature. If you don't understand it, seek assistance from your lawyer or agent.

To get in with your condo association, visit the Association of Condominium, Townhouse, and Homeowner Associations (ACTHA). The ACTHA provides board member certification and other guidance for Chicagoland association members. The ACTHA also retains a lobbyist to advocate in legislation regarding association living. Another good resource is the Chicago Condo Resource Center (CCRC), which offers local education training and conflict resolution services. Looking for a real page-turner? Check out the Condominium Property Act here.
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