Ask the HOA Expert: Making Records Available To Homeowners

Written by Richard Thompson Posted On Thursday, 16 June 2022 00:00

Question: A homeowner is demanding to see the HOA books and records. Our policy has always been homeowner may examine the books and records during normal business hours. He is demanding copies of everything. What should we do?

Answer: Most HOA records should be made available for examination as you describe. Collection records are private and should not be released to the members. Same goes for current litigation records, contracts under negotiation and information that is attorney/client privileged. Copies should carry a reasonable charge like 10¢ each to cover material and labor costs. This usually limits the "I want copies of everything demand".

Question: We have an ongoing problem with units that sell and close without clearing past due balances, violations or liens. How can we make sure the homeowner association is contacted by the closing agent?

Answer: This is a common problem. Most closing agents usually know which properties belong in HOAs and are supposed to contact the HOA for this information. But there is no reliable contact information or it gets overlooked. If the HOA has a properly filed lien, the title insurance company will pick it up and require payment prior to closing. If there is no lien, there is no reliable way to ensure payment other than the seller's honesty.

Of course, that doesn't mean the new owner is off the hook for dues owed by the former owner. Title is taken subject to all rights and obligations and if the seller leaves a bill owing, the HOA can demand payment from the new owner.

Question: One of our units is rented and managed by a rental management company. The renters have a barking dog, items stored outside the house, a son who blasts music, etc. What can the HOA do about this situation?

Answer: The HOA only has legal authority over the property owner and the property owner is responsible for the renter's actions. Start notifying and fining the owner and corrective action usually soon follows.

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