W.S. from New London County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
As a backup to condo recordkeeping, is it a good idea for the board to maintain copies of maintenance fee checks? And if so, are there any privacy issues associated with those copies?
Mister Condo replies:
W.S., I suppose I could make an argument in favor of AND against keeping copies of checks. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons. On the “pro” side, you would have an indisputable hard copy of every check that came in which would make rectifying the income side of your ledger fairly simple. On the “con” side, as you mention, there are privacy concerns. Where will these records be kept? With the rise of identity theft, will unit owners feel safe knowing that copies of their checks which include their personal information as well as their bank’s routing number and checking account number readily available? I think the cons far outweigh the pros in this situation and my advice would be to NOT keep copies of these checks. I don’t know of any bookkeepers who do this. And in this day of Automated Check Handling (ACH) there are many times when there is no physical check to keep a copy of. My follow-up question would be how many times is this an issue? If the association claims a unit owner did not make a payment, it is up to the unit owner to provide proof that they did. Far easier and safer for them to simply produce an archived check from their bank than for the association to put all the other unit owners at risk of identity theft over the rare time when a unit owner’s records don’t match the association’s records. Hope that helps!