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Homeowner association members should request documents regularly

An association's board of directors has no right to keep titleholders in the dark.

May 06, 2012|By Stephen Glassman and Donie Vanitzian

Question: My homeowner association board of directors keeps owners in the dark and treats its actions and duties as if they were secrets to be kept from owners. I keep asking my board for documents, and the directors act as if they don't know what I'm talking about. I'm losing patience with their game-playing in avoiding circulating very important documents. As an owner, what should I be asking for?

Answer: As an owner in a common interest development you are entitled to obtain certain documents. Titleholders should be asking for these items on at least an annual basis for as long as they own the property.

There is a Disclosure Documents Index of what boards must provide on request in Civil Code section 1363.005. Titleholders have a right to demand these documents. This list is the minimum that owners should request. The full list of documents available to owners is in Civil Code section 1365.2.

At the request of the titleholders, the association shall distribute the following as described in Civil Code Section 1350.7:

• Civil Code Sec. 1365.2.5, Assessment and Reserve Funding Disclosure Summary form.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365(a), Pro Forma Operating Budget or Pro Forma Operating Budget Summary. Request a copy of the full unabridged version of the budget rather than a summary.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365(e) and 1367.1(a), Assessment Collection Policy.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365.1, Notice/Assessments and Foreclosure form.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365(f), Insurance Coverage Summary. Owners have the right to and should also demand a complete copy of the insurance policy, not just the summary.

• Civil Code Sec. 1363.05(e), Board Minutes Access. Owners should not accept just access but rather insist on actual hard copies of the minutes. Avoid accepting copies that are marked "draft."

• Civil Code Sec. 1369.590, Alternative Dispute Resolution Rights summary.

• Civil Code Sec. 1363.850, Internal Dispute Resolution Rights summary.

• Civil Code Sec.1378(c), Architectural Changes Notice.

• Civil Code Sec. 1367.1(k), Secondary Address Notification Request.

• Civil Code Sec. 1363(g), Monetary Penalties Schedule. Owners should request the corresponding minutes indicating when the schedule was adopted, how notice is provided to the members and the board's vote approving the fines.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365(b), Reserve Funding Plan summary.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365(c), Review of Financial Statement.

• Civil Code Sec. 1365(a), Annual Update of Reserve Study.

Make your written demand for documents pursuant to Civil Code 1365.2. Generally, most records must be provided within 10 days and a few within 30 days.

Owners should begin collecting these documents immediately after purchase of their property. Homeowners should keep the documents indefinitely, as many of them will be needed throughout ownership of the property, at the time of sale or in the event of litigation.

Should the board fail to comply with the statutory time limits, a Small Claims Court action against the association can be used to obtain the documents.

Glassman is an attorney specializing in corporate and business law. Vanitzian is an arbitrator and mediator. Send questions to P.O. Box 10490, Marina del Rey, CA 90295 or email noexit@mindspring.com.

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