State statutes typically address procedures related to books and records. In Washington State, both nonprofit corporation AND common interest community (CIC) statues require a combination of document retention, disclosure and/or inspection. Notably, WA CIC statutes prior to WUCIOA (effective as of July 2018) do not contain detailed lists of records to retain.
Retain ALL the records that are reasonable to keep for future reference (not just the records listed by statute). Consider documents that relate to projects such as schematics, renderings, and deliverables from third-party experts such as engineering studies, envelope reports, reserve studies, legal memos, etc. Read Practical Advice Responding to Owners' Records Requests to learn more about establishing a records retention policy. Don't make the mistake of conflating what you must do at a minimum to not break the law with what you should do at a minimum to operate a successful community (business). Read Know Your Business: You MUST Go Beyond 'The Basics' to learn more.
Data continuity is essential for every organization! What happens to your association's records when the person or entity keeping track of them no longer has a relationship (business or otherwise) with your organization? Does your association maintain its own file infrastructure to preserve the continuity of information? The best way to preserve everything is digitally, but there is an abundance of human work required to organize any digital repository to make it viable.
CIC document management (storage, retrieval and collaboration) is an area of CIC operations that deserves more attention and stands to benefit homeowners by increasing synthesis, teamwork, more meaningful transitions and greater continuity of information.
DOCUMENT BREAKDOWN BY AUDIENCE / EASE OF ACCESS
Documents available to the public (relevant if your community offers a public-facing website)
Documents available to all owners proactively (minimum friction, maximum efficiency)
Documents available to all owners by request (VIEW our Disclosure page)
Documents that are confidential to the Board