Historically, confusion existed as to which association records and documents homeowners in a community association were entitled to access and copy. However, changes in the law in recent years have clarified the rights and obligations of both homeowners and associations in this regard. This article discusses associations’ corporate records and homeowners’ rights and obligations under the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act (“CCIOA”) as they pertain to access to an association’s corporate records.
What are Association Records?
CCIOA provides that in addition to any records identified in an association’s declaration of covenants or bylaws, the items below are deemed to be the sole records of an association for purposes of production to, and inspection by, homeowners. Therefore, homeowners are not entitled to access, review, or inspect any records not specifically identified below or in their declarations or bylaws.
- Records of receipts and expenditures affecting the operation and administration of the association;
- Records of claims for construction defects and amounts received pursuant to settlement of any such claims;
- Minutes of all meetings of owners;
- Minutes of all meetings of board members (except records of executive sessions of the board);
- Records of actions taken by owners without a meeting;
- Records of actions taken by the board without a meeting, including written communications and e-mails among board members that are directly related to the action so taken;
- Records of actions taken by any committee of the board without a meeting;
- A list of the names of owners in a form that permits preparation of a list of the names and mailing addresses of all owners, as well as the number of votes each owner is entitled to cast;
- The association’s governing documents which are comprised of:
o The declaration;
o The bylaws;
o The articles of incorporation;
o Any rules and regulations and/or design guidelines; and
o Any policies adopted by the Board, including the association’s responsible governance policies.
- Financial statements for the last three years, which at a minimum shall include the balance sheet, the income/expense statement, and the amount held in reserves for the prior fiscal year;
- Tax returns for the last seven years, to the extent available;
- The operating budget for the current fiscal year;
- A list, by property type, of the association’s current assessments, including both regular and special assessments;
- The result of the association’s most recent available financial audit or review, if any;
- A list of the association’s insurance policies, which shall include the company names, policy limits, policy deductibles, additional named insured, and expiration dates of the policies listed;
- A list of the names, e-mail addresses and mailing addresses of the current board members and officers;
- The most recent annual report delivered to the Secretary of State;
- A ledger of each owner’s assessment account;
- The most recent reserve study, if any;
- Current written contracts and contracts for work performed for the association within the prior two years;
- Records of board or committee actions to approve or deny any requests for design or architectural approval from owners;
- Ballots, proxies and other records related to voting by owners for one year after the election, vote or action to which they relate;
- Resolutions adopted by the board;
- All written communications sent to all owners generally within the past three years; and
- A record showing the date on which the association’s fiscal year begins.
Can certain records be withheld?
Yes. Even if a certain document is set forth on the list above, there are certain records that may be withheld by the Association and other records that must be withheld by the association. Those records that may be withheld by the association include records concerning:
- Architectural drawings, plans, and designs, unless released upon the written consent of the legal owner of the drawings, plans, or designs;
- Contracts, leases, bids, or records related to transactions to purchase or provide goods or services that are currently in or under negotiation;
- Communications with legal counsel that are otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine;
- Disclosure of information in violation of law;
- Records of an executive session of an executive board;
- Individual units other than those of the requesting owner; and
- The names and physical mailing addresses of unit owners if the unit is a time-share unit.
Those records that must be withheld by the Association and may not be made available to homeowners include:
- Personnel, salary, or medical records relating to specific individuals; and
- Personal identification and account information of members and residents, including bank account information, telephone numbers, electronic mail addresses, driver’s license numbers, and social security numbers (except that a member or resident may provide the association with consent thereby allowing the association to disclose the person’s telephone number and/or email address).
When must records be produced or made available for inspection?
All records maintained by an association that are subject to inspection must be available for examination and copying within 10 days of a homeowner’s request unless the board of directors has a regularly scheduled meeting occurring within 30 days of the homeowner’s request and in such case the association can make the records available at that board meeting.
Can the Association impose fees for producing records?
Yes, CCIOA allow the association to impose a reasonable charge, which may be collected in advance, to cover the cost of labor and copying costs for copies of the association’s records. However, the charge may not exceed the estimated cost of production and reproduction of the records requested by the homeowner.
Are there limitations regarding a homeowner’s use of Association records?
Yes, association records and the information contained within those records may not be used for commercial purposes. Furthermore, while homeowners are not required to state a purpose for any request to inspect the records of the association, the membership list may not be used for any of the following without the prior consent of the association’s board of directors:
- To solicit money or property unless such money or property will be used solely to solicit the votes of the homeowners in an election held by the association;
- For any commercial purpose; or
- Sold to or purchased by any person.
If you have questions or would like to discuss association records in more detail, please contact a Altitude Community Law attorney at 303.432.9999.