Management Report: September 2019

Posted on Sun, 09/01/2019 - 12:00pm

By Violette Deschamps, Malibu East Manager

Office Hours BALCONIES AND EXTERIOR WALLS: All exterior walls and balconies are owned by the Association. No work, modifications, alterations or perforations are permitted, any of which will accelerate the wear and tear of the concrete or even damage the concrete. Management has a reserve of rubber pads in the office, free of charge, that can be used to place planters and the like on the balcony floor. The pads allow the surface to breathe and dry under the containers, and to distribute the weight.

BALCONIES AND USAGE: We had a few incidents in the last month or so involving “things” dripping and/or dropping from balconies. Cigarettes butts, runoff soapy and dirty water, paint, sanding dust, construction debris, dirt and the like are still the subject of complaints. Watering plants, washing balcony floors, cleaning construction tools, varnishing a piece of furniture and the like all may expose you to rule violations due to waste and particles dripping down and/or flying off the balcony and being deposited on surfaces below. Two recent cases of brown-stained water and particles of white paint and dust have smeared and stained balcony floors, railings and walls; the damage will be remedied by the Association and the costs billed to the respective owners.

In conclusion, every time something leaves your balcony, it is likely to affect balconies, railings, plants or furniture below yours. Generally speaking, activities and tasks taking place on your balcony must be executed in a manner as to be contained on and within your balcony perimeter, and in compliance with applicable rules. It is the same principle as cooking, smoking or listening to music in your unit; they all have to be contained within your unit. Living in a high-rise entails sacrifices and care for your neighbors.

PASSENGER ELEVATORS: We are requesting that you use the service elevator, which is much larger than the passenger elevators, to carry suitcases, large and/or long strollers, scooters, large carts, etc., particularly when more than one of these items are carried in a passenger elevator at the same time. The finishes in the passenger elevators are more delicate than the SST of the service elevator, and more importantly, the service car is much more spacious, allowing easier egress and ingress and maneuvering of large items.

GRILLING FLUIDS: Despite several warning articles on this topic, we have received several complaints about residents using charcoal lighter fluid; it is a fire HAZARD and against the City of Chicago Building Code and the rules of the Association. Further, lighter fluids are one of the top causes of grilling-related injuries. We ask that you use the proper alternatives to light up your charcoal bricks. A safe option is to use an electric charcoal fire starter; it should provide the necessary heat to bring the charcoal bricks to the correct cooking temperature within a reasonable time period.

COMCAST: The switchover from USA Wireless and HiPoint to Comcast will likely happen on or about the end of September. The monthly cost for both services will be in the range of a total of $50 per month. Comcast will need access to all units for the installation of its equipment, and to complete the logistics of the changeover.

AS A REMINDER, COMCAST WILL NEED ACCESS TO ALL UNITS TO IMPLEMENT ITS SERVICES. COMCAST WILL CONTACT AND SCHEDULE THE PERMISSION TO ENTER DIRECTLY WITH EACH UNIT’S RESIDENT.

Please contact Melody in the Management Office if you will be out of town in September in order to give permission to enter and/or leave keys to enter your unit at the front desk. The Board of Directors didn’t make a decision whether to offer at no charge the escort service to accompany the Comcast crew in your unit; this matter will be discussed at the September Board meeting.

A flyer with the list of channels and their corresponding numbers is available in the Management Office.

GARAGE REPAIR PROJECT: The project is progressing and should be completed per schedule. SELF-PARKER CREDIT: In reference to the garage work being done by Bulley & Andrews Concrete Restoration in the section where you used to self-park, please note that a credit for the difference between the self-parking and valet parking fees will be computed once that section of the garage is completed. The credit will be prorated on a daily basis. The total credit will be applied to your Association account once BACR returns that area to self-parkers.

WATER HEATERS: It appears that our last article was useful based on owners’ feedback. Here is additional information:

  1. A water heater that has no pan and/or is disconnected from the main drain is incorrectly installed and exponentially increases your risk of water damage to the Association’s or other owners’ property.
  2. Flexible copper water line is in violation of the Plumbing Code. Such defects will be disclosed to potential buyers if the information is brought to the attention of management by an employee, a vendor or a resident.
  3. Original electrical wire of the building is made of aluminum; aluminum becomes brittle as it ages and also deteriorates due to oxidation when in contact with copper. Copper is the standard metal used by the manufacturers of water heaters. At some point, the aluminum wire will become too short or too damaged at its end to allow a safe connection with the copper wire of the heater. Prudence calls for the verification of the safety of the aluminum wire in order to determine if an electrician is needed to replace the aluminum wire.
  4. Some water heater closets are smaller than others; from time to time, plumbers will have no choice but to squeeze and/or flatten the side lip of the pan to allow the door to close, even after selecting the correct water heater and pan.

FACADE AND BALCONY PROJECT: Given the improved weather of July and August, Reliable Building Systems has gained ground on its delayed work schedule from early summer. Please refer to the façade boards posted by the Management Office and the email blast dated Aug. 9 that contains architect Kellermeyer Godfryt Hart’s visual summary of the work in progress. Contractor RBS is currently working on the east walls and balconies. RBS also completed the repairs of the side panels of the C tier (south) and planned to initiate similar repair work on the E tier wall in August, weather permitting. NO BALCONY WORK IS PLANNED FOR THE SOUTH FACADE THIS YEAR. SOUTH BALCONIES WILL BE RESTORED IN 2020.

REAL ESTATE TAX APPEAL: The contest fee of the law firm Worsek & Vihon LLP will be billed to each owner over a period of three months, starting in October, based on the reduction in assessed value achieved by Worsek & Vihon compared to the assessor’s original proposed valuation of a given unit. Some of you may be eligible for the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption and/or the Senior Freeze Exemption (not the Senior Citizen Exemption). If so, please bring a copy of your 2018 second installment tax bill that shows the said exemption(s). If you are of the opinion that you should get one or both of these exemptions and it is not printed on your tax bill, you must contact the Cook County assessor’s office to have your bill corrected. Please make sure to bring a copy of the corrected bill showing either one of these exemptions no later than Sept. 15 in order to be exempted from the attorney’s contest fee.

As a reminder, the Board of Directors hired Worsek & Vihon in 2018 to contest, on your behalf, the assessed value of your condominium unit as it relates to your property tax bill. Worsek & Vihon succeeded in gaining a reduction in the assessed value, which, alone, generated a decrease in your tax bill even if your final tax bill is much higher than last year’s. Indeed, the overall total of your tax bill would have been even higher if Worsek & Vihon had failed to win its appeals of the assessor’s original proposed valuation. The increase on your bill is the result of the increased market values of units at Malibu East and other factors used in the calculation of your real estate taxes (e.g., state equalization factor, local tax rate). These other factors cannot be contested.

In conclusion, there is nothing more Worsek & Vihon or Malibu East can do about that increase in your taxes because it is beyond the scope of any tax appeal permitted by Cook County. That said, keep in mind that you would have paid more in tax if Worsek & Vihon hadn’t been able to reduce the assessed value.