P.D. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Property Manager refuses to turn over the financials saying the Board won’t let him. I filed a complaint with the State of CT and they told us the Board of Directors “owns” the financials and they CAN refuse to let the Property Manager give them to us. We were referred to the Association Attorney who said we can only get a copy at the two meetings a year they have. There are a lot of problems here, big increase in monthly HOA, big assessments within a short period of time, bills not being paid and no one knows what is going on. We are elderly and on a fixed income and cannot afford an Attorney. The State told us to sue the Association if they are violating the By-Laws or CGS and CIOA. What should we do?
Mister Condo replies:
P.D., if the folks you elected to run your association are doing a poor job, you should recall them and replace them with better volunteer leaders. If they are doing a good job but you just don’t understand what they are doing or why they are doing it, you need access to the association records. If the Board only meets two times per year (another problem, in my opinion) then there are only two sets of Minutes per year that will tell you what is going on. As you were told, you have the right to inspect the Minutes from the meetings to see what decisions are being made. I realize that being elderly and on a fixed income may limit your resources to paid assistance, i.e. an attorney to advise you or sue the association if appropriate, but if you do nothing, I wouldn’t expect anything to change. The Board makes the decisions and the unit owners are bound by those decisions. You get to vote on the Board members so be sure you do just that and exercise your right to vote whenever you can and consider either running for the Board yourself or supporting a candidate who you trust to do what is right for the association. I am not sure what kind of “problems” the association is having but it typically takes money to fix problems. That money comes from the owners either in the form of increased dues, special assessment or and HOA loan that will also drive up the dues. All the best!
1 thought on “Condo Owner Questions Lack of Access to Records”
In the CIOA, CGS § 47-260 spells out the rights of unit owners to view documents and what can be withheld. You have a right to see the financials. https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_828.htm#sec_47-260
Also in the CIOA , CGS § 47-250, if your board reviews financials at their meetings, as the association attorney said, the unit owners should be provided a copy at that time. “If any materials are distributed to the executive board before the meeting, the executive board at the same time shall make copies of those materials reasonably available to unit owners, except that the board need not make available copies of unapproved minutes or materials that are to be considered in executive session.” And for the directors reviewing and discussing financials, it is not an allowable topic for executive session, the allowable topics are included in CGS § 47-250.
So the hard part is when the board does not do what they are supposed to do; in CT, there is no ombudsman, and probably no alternative dispute resolution in your governing documents. So the first part is knowing your rights, and make efforts to claim those rights, and possibly trying to enlist support from other unit owners, to have more transparency so unit owners can be more informed. As noted, where there the board continues resistance, you would need to start legal action. It would probably cost a lot of money to get your hands on all the financials you really need to be reviewing. Or better, and cheaper, run for office, you sound perfect.
I’d also be careful about info from the “State.” The only agency that deals with condos at all in CT is the Dept of Consumer Protection, and it is primarily for submitting a complaint on a CAM. You can sometimes get info that may not reliable from someone trying to help you. They did steer you right to inform you that your only recourse is to take legal action, if efforts don’t yield the cooperation you need. There isn’t any intermediary way.