Florida condominium and homeowners association boards are required to keep a laundry list of Official Records for their associations. For condos there are 17 categories of Official Records that must be maintained and for HOAs there are 12 categories. For both condos and HOAs, the boards must make those Official Records available to owners in a very short period of time and there are severe penalties for not doing so. So, if your association is not maintaining the required Official Records, there are civil and criminal penalties. Indeed the Condo Act specifically provides for a penalty and lawmakers are looking to stiffen the penalty in the 2018 legislative session:
“The failure of an association to provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a written request creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph. A unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s willful failure to comply. Minimum damages are $50 per calendar day for up to 10 days, beginning on the 11th working day after receipt of the written request. The failure to permit inspection entitles any person prevailing in an enforcement action to recover reasonable attorney fees from the person in control of the records who, directly or indirectly, knowingly denied access to the records.”
Knowing that there are severe penalties, boards should be wary of the Official Record keeping requirements and make sure that they are complying with the law.
Buried in the lists of Official Records that must be maintained are catch all provisions. For both condos and HOAs, “All other written records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.” That catch all requirement arguably covers board emails and a myriad of other Official Records. Florida attorney Jeffrey Rembaum, Esq. of Kaye, Bender, Rembaum in his article (“Must the Association’s Law Firm’s Invoices be made Available to its Members upon Written Request?“) warns that attorney invoices are Official Records that must be maintained by the association and produced after redactions to owners who want to inspect them.
Office of the Board creates instantly and provides an Official Record keeping system with required folders so that it is simple for association boards to make sure they are complying with the law. Watch alerts can be places on Official Record folders to alert board members when records are added as required. With Office of the Board, it is easy for boards and management to respond to owner inspection requests in a timely manner so civil and criminal penalties are not an issue. All condos and HOAs, irrespective of size, are required to maintain Official Records and make them available to owners as legally required. If your condo is 150 or more units, you’ll also need a web portal up and running by July 1, 2018, for owners to access certain Official Records. Office of the Board takes care of that requirement for you as well.
Read more about how Office of the Board makes your association legally compliant.