M.H. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo has a reserve account with one million dollars in it. We are asking to see the accounting transactions that populated the account. We want to know by year what accounts the money came from and the amount. The board gave us high level data but refuses to let us see the detail data that would show the money being moved from account A to account B. I think they have to provide the information.
Mister Condo replies:
M.H., there is a difference between full disclosure and accounting records. The association’s financial information is open to review by any association members. There may be a fee for producing certain records and there may be costs for photocopying and property management personnel’s time in gathering the records. In the case of a million dollar Reserve Fund, my guess is that the contributions to the Reserve Fund were well-documented for each and every year that contributions were made. I am not sure what you mean by high level data versus detail data but unless you suspect some foul play is at hand, the data provided should suffice. A more important question to me isn’t whether individual unit owners have access to the data but is the association conducting regular outside audits? A qualified, independent CPA should most likely be reviewing the association’s finances, including the Reserve Fund, and providing an opinion as to where any inaccuracies or discrepancies may exist. With that much money in play, paying for an independent audit of the association’s finances is simply a best practice that protects the Board as well as the members of the association. Good luck!