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How To Properly Maintain Records in a Community Association


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How to Properly Maintain Records in a Community Association

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How To Properly Maintain Records in a Community Association

  1. 1. HOW TO PROPERLY MAINTAIN RECORDS By Associated Property Management One of the more important aspect of an association's responsibility is the administration and maintenance of the association records on behalf of the owners. The association's records can be classified as corporate, financial and property (both common and individual unit or lot). The person usually in charge of records will be the Secretary of the Association. However, in reality, the record keeping is the responsibility of all of the Board of Directors. If the association has hired someone other than a Board Member to file and keep the records, then there should be at least one person from the Board of Directors to oversee and monitor that the files are being properly maintained. The reasons for the association to maintain good records is that it is usually required to, as stated in the association's by-laws, the state statutes require proper and complete record keeping and good business practice always require this as well. The records of the association will show the association's history and will be able to identify the significant persons and events in the association's past. The association's records can be categorized as corporate, financial and property. Records that that would be considered corporate would be the following; agendas, ballots, committee reports, contracts, corporate annual reports, documents, election materials, incoming correspondence, legal correspondence, legal opinions, management reports, minutes, notices, outgoing correspondence, owner violations, resolutions, roster of owners/tenants and voting certificates. These types of records should be kept in a separate area and not commingled with the financial and property records. These records are very important to maintain properly, as in the case of a legal dispute, these records will be needed to be provided to attorneys for their review and in many cases will be able to prove that the association was being run in a business like manner and that the Board Members were not negligent in their duties. Financial files would include; assessment calculations, audit reports, budgets, cancelled checks, delinquency reports, deposit slips, financial statements, general ledgers, income statements, paid bills and posting reports. These records will need to be maintained properly, for the following reasons; budget information, federal tax reporting, historical data, mortgage lending information, owner disputes, regular audits, state tax reporting and workmen's compensation audits.
  2. 2. Property records should be divided into common area and individual unit/lot files. Common area files would include records of the following; contractor files, contracts, engineering studies, facilities management reports, inventory, management reports, maintenance programs, personnel files, property inspection, reserve reports, special projects, supplies, utility, vendor files and warranties. These records will provide not only a history of the building and grounds operations but will also be used as a basis for future common area budgeting in both the operating and reserve areas. Unit/Lot records will show a history of that particular unit/lot. Included in the file would be deeds, applications, closing statement, owner correspondence, owner violations, property inspections and any other pertinent information concerning that unit/lot. The association may have in its possession additional records which would also be included. Generally, the records must be made available to the party who requests the records within 10 days after receiving the written request. All associations will have per diem damages for noncompliance. The board of Directors is allowed to make reasonable rules and regulations concerning the frequency, time, location, notice and manner for inspection of records. Overall, the association records are the owners’ records and should be maintained in a business like manner for the common good and perpetuation of the community. Overall, the associations must maintain and keep the following records from inception, in addition to the above; 1. A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the developer. 2. A photocopy of the recorded declaration operated by the association and of each amendment to the declaration. 3. A photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association and of each amendment to the bylaws. 4. A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the association, or other documents creating the association, and of each amendment thereto. 5. A copy of the current rules of the association. 6. A book or books which contain the minutes of all meetings of the association, of the board of directors, and of unit owners, which minutes shall be retained for a period of not less than 7 years. 7. A current roster of all unit/lot owners and their mailing addresses, voting certifications, and, if known, telephone numbers. (Chapter 718 allows for electronic voting and those records must be maintained as well). 8. All current insurance policies of the association operated by the association. (We also suggest keeping old policies in case there is a liability that becomes known from the past) 9. A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or other contracts to which the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners have an obligation or responsibility. 10. Any Bill of sale or transfer of property owned by the association. 11. Accounting records for the association. All accounting records shall be maintained for a period of not less than 7 years. The accounting records shall include, but are not limited to: a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.
  3. 3. b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly statement of the account for each unit designating the name of the unit owner, the due date and amount of each assessment, the amount paid upon the account, and the balance due. c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and financial reports of the association or condominium. d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to be performed shall also be considered official records and shall be maintained for a period of 1 year. 12. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers relating to voting by unit owners, which shall be maintained for a period of 1 year from the date of the election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates. 13. All rental records, when the association is acting as agent for the rental of condominium units. 14. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as described by s. 718.504. 15. All other records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association. Chapter 720 The association shall maintain each of the following items, when applicable, which constitute the official records of the association: a) All deeds to common property owned by the association. (b) The original of the association's declarations of covenants and restrictions. (c) A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the association. (d) A copy of the bylaws. (e) The minute books, including all minutes. (f) The books and records of the association. (g) Policies, rules, and regulations, if any, which have been adopted. (h) Resignations of directors who are required to resign because the developer is required to relinquish control of the association. (i) The financial records of the association from the date of incorporation through the date of turnover. (j) All association funds and control thereof. (k) All tangible property of the association. (l) A copy of all contracts which may be in force with the association as one of the parties. (m) A list of the names and addresses and telephone numbers of all contractors, subcontractors, or others in the current employ of the association. (n) Any and all insurance policies in effect. (o) Any permits issued to the association by governmental entities. (p) Any and all warranties in effect. (q) A roster of current homeowners and their addresses and telephone numbers and section and lot numbers. (r) Employment and service contracts in effect. (s) All other contracts in effect to which the association is a party. Overall, most records should be kept for at least 7 years in order to fulfill most state statutes and to adhere to good business practices, as unit owners are entitled to inspect and obtain records of the association during reasonable times. 04-01-06