While keeping the records of the association is not the most fascinating part of board membership, it is in some ways one of the most important. In fact, the flow of paperwork is the lifeblood of the community.
The association’s declaration, master deed and bylaws, and the co-op’s articles of incorporation and proprietary lease are the foundation of the business that is your typical co-op, condominium or homeowners’ association. The voluminous documents produced day to day are the records of its operation and the correspondence among the board, owners and management create the tenor of life within the community. Keeping documents and records tidy and communications responsible and transparent are key to running a functional and harmonious community.
The Letters of the Law
While the rules and regulations regarding producing and distributing the documents of an association are largely determined by the association itself in its declaration and bylaws, there are some that are laid out by State of Florida statute — Chapter 718 for condominiums, Chapter 720 for HOA’s and Chapter 719 for cooperatives.
The laws for each are virtually the same. According to attorney Kyle Egger of the Miami-based Nearing Law Firm, “Generally, they just say that all financial and accounting records must be maintained for at least a seven year period, and they’ve got to be accurate and itemized, applying accounting principles.”
By statute, an association must keep detailed records of all receipts and expenditures, and a periodic statement of the account for each owner, including all assessment information and monthly maintenance fee information. “That’s for the benefit of the members, so they can always get a quick accounting of their account,” explains Egger. Plus, the association must keep all tax returns, financial statements, contracts, agreements and a record of debts and liabilities. That’s so, “you can double check to make sure nobody’s self-dealing on the board,” he adds.