T.A. from New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can somebody tell me if a homeowner and a treasurer (the same person) can request a copy of declined insurance claim on our HOA roof from 2 years ago? I was told by a board president to drop it and by management company that I am grossly inappropriate. We had a huge hail storm and insurance company declined it. We had about 50-100 hits per square ft. of roof and I wanted to get public adjuster opinion if we should file a lawsuit. I am being told not to touch this subject and it sounds very shifty. Can somebody help with a legal advice? Do I not have a right as a homeowner to see it?
Mister Condo replies:
T.A., as I am not an attorney, I cannot offer you any legal advice in this column. If you need true legal advice, I suggest you speak with a locally qualified attorney. As a member of the association you have a right to inspect any record of the association. A denied insurance claim is a record of the association and you do have a right to inspect it. However, you must follow proper channels to do so, which includes a written request to inspect the record. The association or management company may charge you a fee to do so as they have to produce the record for inspection. They may also charge you a fee for making a copy of the record if you want one. The real question here is what will you do with this information. I doubt even an adjuster can assist with a claim that is two years old. Also, the Board President was elected by the Board members to oversee the business of the association, which includes handling insurance claims. The Board acted accordingly at the time and really won’t appreciate you questioning their handling of the matter. While I don’t agree with the Board President suggesting you “drop it”, I understand his frustration with having his actions questioned. After all, he was elected to the Board and also elected to lead the Board. He has done just that. If his leadership isn’t to your liking, perhaps you should run for his position. The management company, on the other hand, should simply honor your request to inspect the record and charge you accordingly for their service. All the best!