Management Report: April 2021

Posted on Thu, 04/01/2021 - 12:00pm

By Violette Deschamps, Malibu East Manager

Office HoursBALCONY PONDING: The balconies were originally built with a pitch from the walls to the edges to allow water (rain, melting ice and snow) to drain away from the building. However, concrete naturally sags over time in between reinforcement rebar grids, particularly in the middle where the rebars are the weakest, due to its own weight and gravity. As a result, the majority of our balconies collect water along the knee walls and/or in the center parts; it is a widespread problem at Malibu East as well as other concrete buildings. The water staled in the depressions of the balconies is inconvenient for a lot of reasons, besides adding wear and tear on the membrane.

We can assure you that the Board has discussed many times the ponding issue and potential solutions with consultants and contractors. There is not much that can be done besides the application of a light leveler (liquid) applied before the final green coating, which was done by RBS during the course of the comprehensive façade and balcony project that took place from 2016 through 2020. The leveler, as part of the membrane system, slightly compensated for the sagging of the concrete, but overall, the sagging will be visually about the same and water will continue to collect on your balconies. Completely negating the effects of the sagging of the concrete is not possible at this time, given the absence of durable products on the market that will effectively achieve the correction while surviving our blistering winters. The only other known remedy is unrealistic to finance as it entails cutting off large and deep sections of sagged concrete, then installing new rebar in the sections and repouring new concrete, not to mention that the timetable of the project would be at least three to four times longer than the four years we just went through.

REAL ESTATE VALUATION APPEAL: Fresh news from the office of Worsek & Vihon, hired by MECA to contest the real estate valuation of units:

Contrary to previous years, all exemptions that were received in 2019 will be automatically rolled over on to the 2020 tax bills. The only reason someone needs to apply for an exemption this year is if they are a new resident who qualifies for the homeowner exemption or Long Time Occupant, or if a resident turned 65 in 2020 and now qualifies for the senior citizen and/or senior freeze exemption.

If there are new residents or residents who recently turned 65 then they will need to complete an exemption application online prior to March 31st.” (www.cookcountyassessor.com/exemptions)

The only two tax exemptions that will allow MECA to waive the law firm’s contest fee for an owner are:

  1. Senior Freeze (subject to an annual income cap as determined by the Cook County assessor)
  2. Long Time Occupant (subject to an annual income cap as determined by the Cook County assessor)

PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT YOU APPLIED FOR ANY EXEMPTION FOR WHICH YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE ELIGIBLE PRIOR TO MARCH 31. Note that this information was email-blasted to our owners earlier in March.

HEATING AND ELECTRICAL BILL: Balancing the operation of the furnace’s central heat with the individual baseboard heaters is preferable for saving energy. The furnace temperature setting should be kept, for example, at a low setting such as 65 degrees, and baseboard heaters located under the sliding doors used to add the additional heat needed to bring the comfort temperature in the occupied room(s). This would work best by keeping the baseboard heaters turned off in the room(s) that are not occupied. This method allows you to optimize the heat in the occupied rooms, and minimize your electricity cost by keeping the unoccupied rooms at a lower temperature.

VENTS IN BATHROOMS: You will notice a small grid close to your bathroom and shower room ceilings; these grids are connected to ductwork built from the 4th floor up to the roof. At the roof end of the ductwork, large, heavy-duty fans are installed to exhaust 24/7 the air out of the bathrooms and shower rooms, including fumes and moisture. These grids should never be closed, or encumbered, or blocked, or camouflaged, or covered as any obstruction of the ventilation grid will result in moisture trapped in the bathroom. If so, trapped moisture may deteriorate finishes and may likely cause mold growth. In conclusion, the grids must be kept open, free of obstacles or obturations, and cleaned to optimize the ventilation of your bathrooms and shower rooms to the roof. The same type of ventilation exists in the kitchens; the same diligence and precautions must be taken for better exhaust of cooking fumes, smoke, and other odors resulting from the activities in units.

STOLEN ITEMS FROM LOBBY DELIVERIES: Although this type of civil matter does not relate to the management of the property, management will provide a copy of camera recordings and/or incident report, if available, that may help the victimized party to locate the person who stole the delivery, or part of it.

FIRE PROCEDURE: Fire generally happens as the result of an incident, underestimated reaction, forgetfulness, etc. Bottom line: It is usually not criminal in nature but rather a no-fault incident. Do not be ashamed, or afraid, or concerned to report to the front desk or management a fire or smoke in your unit after you have contacted 911. You can be assured that the staff will sympathize, drop everything, and respond with kindness and diligence. Our goal is to assist and remedy the situation in the most effective manner with the least consequences for you and your neighbors, and damage to property. No ill intention, no reprimand, no negativity; we are here to help.

TIE OBJECTS ON BALCONY: Heavy turbulence and winds at times around the building are surprisingly strong and may displace the heaviest accessories and pieces of furniture you keep on your balconies, to your astonishment. We advise you to solidly tie up any personal property kept on your balconies, and to check the ties regularly in case they have loosened up. Make them strong and supertight.

CIGARETTE BUTTS ON BALCONIES: We continue to get complaints about cigarette butts landing on balconies. One, it is disheartening for the residents finding those butts on their property. Second, they may cause burns on the membrane or furniture. And third, they may trigger an investigation that can end up being costly for the responsible parties. Please be considerate.

CORONAVIRUS: At the time I am writing this article, Malibu East Condominium has been notified of one COVID-19 case in March 2021. As a reminder, the Board of Directors is insisting on residents wearing masks in the workout rooms, garage, elevators, and anywhere else in the common areas.

URBAN DESIGN AND LANDSCAPING: Helios Construction started the atrium renovation work on March 22. Management has issued correspondence to inform residents of the logistics to enter and leave the building and garage. The traffic in and out of the atrium has been monitored by the staff during the construction hours. More robust construction work will take place in the coming weeks, and increased inconveniences or delays to enter or leave the building and garage should also be expected. Helios will proceed with important excavation work in the 15-minute parking area facing Sheridan in order to proceed with the replacement of fire safety underground pipes. This fire safety work is essential to restore the operation of the Siamese couplings on Glenlake although there is a redundancy system on Sheridan. The renovation work is expected to be completed by the end of May 2021, weather permitting.

BIKE AUDIT ALERT: About 50 bikes currently stored in the Bicycle Room are NOT yet equipped with the 2021 large blue decal. It is imperative that bike owners register their bikes and apply the 2021 blue decal on their bikes by April 19 to prevent their bikes from being taken out of the Bicycle Room and disposed of 60 days later. Furthermore, the outdoor bike rack has been relocated to the old dog run in an effort to accommodate the renovation of the atrium; all remaining bikes have been detached from the bike rack and stored. Please contact management if you think that your bike was taken. Please make your visitors biking to the property aware of the temporary relocation of the outdoor bike rack. Damage and loss associated to any locks and bikes are the full responsibility of the bike owners.

2021 DOG REGISTRATION: The Board of Directors has adopted a Dog Policy, complementary to the provisions of the current dog rules and Declaration, that includes a new registration effective Jan. 1, 2021. The new registration contains a provision to the effect that dogs, regardless of breed or size, must be covered by the insurance of the owners or renters.

All dog owners must re-register their dogs regardless of whether they had registered their dogs in previous years, including 2020. All fobs associated to units with dogs registered in 2021 will be activated to operate the dog run fob readers as soon as the first week of April (postponed from March); the other fobs will be reprogrammed so that they won’t operate the fob readers of the dog runs.

Please be advised that you must register your dog(s) using the 2021 form, with no more delay. The Board of Directors recently adopted a fine of $100 applicable to the owner of the unit where a dog lives unregistered in 2021. The 2021 form is available in the lobby, and was email blasted on Jan. 11.