There are many rules regarding your HOA records that I can share with you and write about over the course of many months. Let’s focus on an association member’s, your request to view and copy those records. You may be surprised by what you learn! The following applies to both Condos and HOA’s:
For whatever reason, you would like to inspect the official records of your HOA and submit a written request to do so. The Association may impose fees to cover the cost of providing copies to you. These fees may include the time it takes to retrieve the records compounded with the time it takes to copy them, if the records exceed 25 pages and time spent by personnel exceeds one-half hour. There are other limitations per the Florida Statutes regarding time and use of personnel, so be mindful when making your records request. Also, if your association does not have a copier and goes to an outside source for their office supply needs, then the association can charge back to you whatever the cost to them charged by the vendor. In a condo, members have the same right to records but there is a reasonable cost passed on to them, should they want to make copies of official records.
Here’s the good news: If you want a copy of your association’s official records but want to avoid fees, there is a way to do so. You, or your representative, may use an electronic portable device for example, your smartphone; a tablet; a portable scanner or any technology capable of scanning or taking pictures to make a copy of the records, in lieu of the association copying those records for you and utilizing personnel time. The association may NOT charge you or your representative a fee for making the copies IF they are taken in this format by you or your representative.
Now you know that when you want to look at or obtain a copy of an official record of the HOA, you have the right to do so (within certain guidelines). But there are records that are NOT allowed to be requested by unit owners which include, but are not limited to, records protected by attorney-client privilege (your HOA is party to a lawsuit); personnel records of association employees; email addresses, social security numbers and other items of a private, personal nature.
This is just one of many “Tips” to come from Florida’s “Homeowners’ Association Act.” Stay tuned….
Jill Kalter, MPA CP is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Appellate Mediator and Circuit Civil Mediator and President at Resolve Mediation, Inc., specializing in HOA disputes and property damage issues.
Jill enjoys speaking at Association meetings guiding members through the “ins and outs” of HOA living.
She can be reached at Jill@ResolveMediationInc.com on https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillkalter; Facebook at Resolve Mediation, Inc.; and Twitter @Mediator_Jill