An association has an obligation to respond to a homeowner’s request for association records. A failure to timely respond or an unjustified refusal to provide the records can result in a fine of $500 for each ignored request along with reasonable costs and expenses including attorney fees. Do not ignore the request!
1. What records can be requested?
Distinctions are drawn between regular “association records,” membership lists, and “enhanced association records.”
|A. Regular “association records” include nearly all the financial information and reports, including check registers, contracts not otherwise privileged, tax returns, and agendas and minutes (unless pertaining to executive sessions).
B. Membership lists are included among the regular “association records” provided the requesting member states a purpose that relates to the requestor’s interest as a member, (unless the Association reasonably believes otherwise). Members of the Association may opt out of the sharing of his or her name, property address and mailing address by notifying the Association in writing that he or she requests the limitation in Corporations Code Section 8330, which provides that if the requestor’s objective can be met without disclosing the identity of the opting-out member, then the identifying information may be withheld.
C. “Enhanced association records” include invoices, receipts, cancelled checks, purchase orders, credit-card statements and reimbursement requests (although the person making the reimbursement request may remove personal identifying information).
2. What information can and should be withheld or redacted?
Information that should be withheld or redacted (blacked out) include: information reasonably likely to lead to identify theft, such as bank-account numbers, Social Security or Tax Identification numbers; information that is privileged, such as falling under the attorney-client privilege; records regarding disciplinary actions or collection activities, including payment plans; privileged contracts regarding maintenance, management or legal services; personnel records (other than payroll records); and information regarding security systems.
3. How soon must records be produced?
For records prepared during the current fiscal year: within 10 business days of the request. For records prepared during the previous two fiscal years: within 30 calendar days of the request. Other time periods apply to a request for current minutes and financial statements not yet prepared, and membership lists.
4. How long must the association keep records?
Minutes of Board and annual meetings must be kept permanently. However, it is unnecessary to retain other records that extend further back in time than the previous two full fiscal years.
5. How are the documents produced?
An Association may make the records simply available to the requesting homeowner to be copied at the homeowner’s expense. The requestor may demand that documents available in electronic media be provided as such, but only if they can be transmitted in a redacted format. If copies are requested, the actual cost of copying and mailing can be charged to the requestor along with a charge of $10.00/hr., not to exceed $200 per request, to redact enhanced association records.