Members of homeowners associations have certain specified rights to inspect and to copy and receive copies of association records. The scope of the homeowners’ rights are typically set forth in the laws of the state where the homeowners association is located and in the governing documents of the association. In order to determine what inspection rights are available or applicable to a given situation, one should begin with a review of the inspection provisions of the governing documents and the applicable state laws (generally located in laws governing nonprofit corporations and/or laws governing homeowners associations).
The association’s governing documents and/or the controlling state statutes will generally contain detailed provisions on the times for allowing inspection and copying and for providing access (i.e. 10 business days following the association’s receipt of a record’s request), the place where the records would be available, charges for copying and mailing documents, restrictions on withholding or redacting information from the records for privacy or other reasons, and the time periods for which specified records shall be provided. A member desiring to inspect an association’s records should initially review the applicable state laws to understand what they provide regarding inspection rights exist in a given situation. Thereafter the governing documents can be reviewed to see whether there are any conflicting provisions. The governing documents may provide for more liberal inspection rights than the statutes, but may not be more restrictive than the statutes unless a statute contains specific language that allows more restrictive provisions.
The type and the scope of the association’s records that members are entitled to inspect and copy are controlled by the definition of “association records” is set forth in the controlling state statutes. Typical language in state statutes includes the following items within the definition of “association records” that a member is entitled to review and copy:
- Interim financial statements, periodic or as compiled, containing any of the following:
- Any financial document or statement required to be provided as specified in the association’s governing documents.
- Any financial document required to be provided to a member by state laws.
- Balance sheet.
- Income and expense statement.
- Budget comparison.
- General ledger. (A report that shows all transactions that occurred in an association account over a specified period of time).Executed contracts not otherwise privileged under law.
2. Written board approval of vendor or contractor proposals or invoices.
3. State and federal tax returns.
4. Reserve account balances and records of payments made from reserve accounts.
5. Agendas and minutes of meetings of the members, the board, and any committees appointed by the board; excluding, however, minutes and other information from executive sessions of the board.
6. Membership lists, including name, property address, and mailing address.
7. Check registers.
8. The governing documents.
9.”Enhanced association records” (invoices, receipts and canceled checks for payments made by the association, purchase orders approved by the association, credit card statements for credit cards issued in the name of the association, statements for services rendered, and reimbursement requests submitted to the association).
Statutes, Forms, or Guides related to this Article:
Use these to fulfill the action steps from this Article.
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