Inspection of Condominium Records by New Board Member

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B.K. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hi! After years of dealing with an uncooperative Board that doesn’t communicate anything to the homeowners, I finally was elected to serve as a Board member. I was elected because the majority of the people in our development want change & communication. One of the first things I asked for was a copy of the Master Policy (including flood since we were severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy) and other insurance documents as well. The other Board members (who are not thrilled that I got elected) directed me to the management company who then in turn said I can view these documents in their office. Shouldn’t these documents be made available to all homeowners or is there a legal reason they need to be housed with the management company?

Mister Condo replies:

B.K., welcome to your condo board! I hope you find volunteering your time serving to be a rewarding experience. The storage of condo documents such as the Master Insurance Policy is the responsibility of the Board but is often handled at the office of the management company if the association has a management company. The likely reason for this is that the management company is a business and is likely to have the physical resources for storing such documents. Inspection of association documents is the right of any unit owner, not just Board members. However, associations and their agents like the management company do not have to allow for random inspection at any hour of the day or night nor do they have to allow these inspections to occur for free, meaning there may be a small fee for the inspection. Typically, management company personnel are needed to find the records and make copies if needed. That is what the fee is for. The same is true for other association documents such as contractor bids and contracts awarded to repair the damage left in Sandy’s wake. Association records are property of the association. If the Board should decide that a volunteer member of the Board be the keeper of these records, it should be noted that the records still need to be available to other unit owners. For this reason alone, most associations would elect to have their property management firm warehouse the records and monitor their inspection and distribution. Otherwise, a volunteer Board member could find themselves spending lots of time fielding document inspection records (likely in their own home) from other unit owners. I don’t know about you but I sure wouldn’t want that burden. Good luck on the Board.

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