Record Inspection

While state statues vary with regard to record retention and disclosure, statutory requirements are not recommendations or best practices: failure to disclose records can be costly!

With the exception of truly confidential information, there is nothing to gain by obfuscating information and/or barring members' access to association records. Members (owners) are the basis of your common interest community. Legal Lessons & Disclosure Requirements provides a succinct introduction to appropriate disclosure and expectations for directors to act in good faith. Follow-up with Practical Advice Responding to Owners' Records Requests.

Some states offer helpful homeowner resources

Disclosing records appropriately and proactively is a sign that your Board understands how to lead with reason and transparency. Always ask "WHY" before making decisions that impact your community.

What to Disclose

Keep it simple! Disclose everything other than records that are potentially or specifically confidential. EXAMPLES:

  • Annual report

  • Ballots, proxies, absentee ballots and other records related to voting

  • Financial Records (annual budgets (past & present), monthly balance sheet, income and expense statements, annual audits, receipts)

  • Governing documents (declaration, bylaws, rules and regulations, policies, procedures, resolutions)

  • Minutes (of the Board, Committees and of the Association Members)

  • Association Insurance policies

  • Materials related to ACC / ARC / Alteration / Architectural requests

  • Names of all current unit owners and their physical address used for communication purposes

  • Non-confidential documents relied upon by the Board and all Committees to make decisions

  • Non-confidential documents distributed to the Board that relate to the topics of any Board meeting

  • Notices provided to unit owners

  • Professional Reports (reserve studies, engineering studies, envelope studies, etc.)

Costs related to Disclosure

Costs are usually limited by statute. In Washington State, an association may charge a reasonable fee for producing and providing copies of records. Providing transparency by posting records on a CRM / information portal is a best practice that helps avoid unnecessary requests for information. Also reference fees & costs related to California. If you live in Texas or would just like to read more, view Sec. 82.1141 - Access to Association Records from the Texas Uniform Condominium Act.

Disclosure: WA Nonprofit Corporation Act (RCW 24.03a)

RCW 24.03A.215 - Inspection by Members

(1) A member of a nonprofit corporation may inspect and copy, during regular business hours at a reasonable location specified by the corporation, any of the records the corporation is required to maintain under RCW 24.03A.210(2), if the member delivers to the corporation an executed notice in the form of a record at least five business days before the date on which the member wishes to inspect and copy the records.

(2) Subject to the limitations set forth in subsections (3) and (4) of this section, a member of a nonprofit corporation may inspect and copy, during regular business hours at a reasonable location specified by the corporation, any of the following records of the corporation, if the member delivers to the corporation an executed notice in the form of a record at least five business days before the date on which the member wishes to inspect and copy the records:

(a) Excerpts from those minutes and records required to be maintained under RCW 24.03A.210(1);

(b) Accounting records of the corporation described in RCW 24.03A.210(3); and

(c) Subject to RCW 24.03A.240, the membership list described in RCW 24.03A.210(4).

(3) A nonprofit corporation may withhold from inspection under this section:

(a) Those portions of records that contain information protected by the attorney-client privilege or related work product;

(b) The address of any member who is known to the corporation to be a participant in the address confidentiality program described in chapter 40.24 RCW or any similar program established by law;

(c) Those portions of records, which, if disclosed, would be reasonably likely to result in harm to the corporation or a third party, such as disciplinary actions involving non-director members, identities of job applicants, discussions of strategic acquisitions, records that are required to be kept confidential under obligations to a third party, etc.; or

(d) Any information that a nonprofit corporation is required to keep confidential under any other law.

(4) A member may inspect and copy the records described in subsection (2) of this section only if the:

(a) Member's demand is made in good faith and for a proper purpose;

(b) Member describes with reasonable particularity the purpose and the records the member desires to inspect;

(c) Member agrees in the form of a record to reasonable restrictions required by the board on the use or distribution of the records; and

(d) Records are directly connected with this purpose.

(5) The right of inspection granted by this section may not be abolished or limited by a nonprofit corporation's articles or bylaws.

(6) This section does not affect the:

(a) Right of a member to inspect records as part of discovery in connection with litigation; or

(b) Power of any court of competent jurisdiction, independently of this chapter, to compel the production of corporate records for examination.

RCW 24.03A.220 - Scope of Member's Inspection Right

(1) A member's agent or attorney has the same inspection and copying rights as the member represented.

(2) The right to copy records under RCW 24.03A.215 includes, if reasonable, the right to receive copies. Copies may be provided through electronic transmission unless the member requests otherwise in the form of a record.

(3) The nonprofit corporation may comply with a member's demand to inspect and copy the list of members under RCW 24.03A.215(2)(c) by providing the member for a reasonable charge as described in subsection (4) of this section with a list of members that was compiled no earlier than the date of the member's demand.

(4) The nonprofit corporation shall provide a copy of its articles and bylaws at no cost to a member on request. The nonprofit corporation may impose a reasonable charge, covering the costs of labor and material, for copies of any other documents provided to the member. The charge may not exceed the estimated cost of production, reproduction, or transmission of the records.

RCW 24.03A.225 - Financial Statements for Members

(1) Except as provided in the articles or bylaws of a nonprofit corporation engaged in religious activity, upon a demand in the form of a record from a member, a corporation shall furnish that member with its latest annual financial statements, which may be consolidated or combined statements of the corporation and one or more of its subsidiaries, as appropriate, that include a balance sheet as of the end of the fiscal year and a statement of operations for the year. If financial statements are prepared for the corporation on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, then the annual financial statements must also be prepared on that basis.

(2) If the annual financial statements are reported upon by a certified public accountant, then the accountant's report shall accompany them. If not, then the statements must be accompanied by a statement of the president or the person responsible for the nonprofit corporation's accounting records:

(a) Stating the reasonable belief of the president or other person as to whether the statements were prepared on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles and, if not, describing the basis of preparation; and

(b) Describing any respects in which the statements were not prepared on a basis of accounting consistent with the statements prepared for the preceding year.

RCW 24.03A.230 - Court-Ordered Inspection

(1) If a nonprofit corporation does not allow a member who complies with RCW 24.03A.215(1) to inspect and copy any records required by that subsection to be available for inspection, then the court may summarily order inspection and copying of the records demanded at the corporation's expense upon application of the member.

(2) If a nonprofit corporation does not within a reasonable time allow a member to inspect and copy any other record to which the member is entitled under RCW 24.03A.215(2), then the member who complies with RCW 24.03A.215 (3) and (4) may apply to the court for an order to permit inspection and copying of the records demanded. The court may inspect the records in question in camera and determine the extent of required disclosure, if any, in light of RCW 24.03A.215. In making that determination, the court shall consider the probability and extent of potential harm to the corporation or any third party that may result from inspection, and the probability and extent of benefit to the corporation or the member.

(3) If the court orders inspection and copying of the records demanded, then it shall also order the nonprofit corporation to pay the member's costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred to obtain the order, unless the corporation proves that it refused inspection in good faith because it had a reasonable basis for doubt about the right of the member to inspect the records demanded. If the court denies the majority of the request for inspection and copying, it may order the member to pay part or all of the nonprofit corporation's costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees.

(4) If the court orders inspection and copying of the records demanded, then it may impose reasonable restrictions on the use or distribution of the records by the demanding member.

RCW 24.03A.235 - Inspection by Directors

(1) A director of a nonprofit corporation may inspect and copy the books, records, and documents of the corporation at any reasonable time to the extent reasonably related to the performance of the director's duties as a director, including duties as a member of a committee, but not for any other purpose or in any manner that would violate any duty to the corporation or law other than this chapter.

(2) The court may order inspection and copying of the books, records, and documents at the corporation's expense, upon application of a director who has been refused the inspection rights set out in subsection (1) of this section, unless the corporation establishes that the director is not entitled to those inspection rights.

(3) If an order is issued, then the court may include provisions protecting the nonprofit corporation from undue burden or expense, and prohibiting the director from using information obtained upon exercise of the inspection rights in a manner that would violate a duty to the corporation, and may also order the corporation to reimburse the director for the director's costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred in connection with the application.

Disclosure: WA UCIOA (RCW 64.90)

RCW 64.90.445(2)(g) - Meetings

(g) If any materials are distributed to the board before the meeting, the board must make copies of those materials reasonably available to the unit owners, except that the board need not make available copies of unapproved minutes or materials that are to be considered in executive session.

RCW 64.90.640 - Unit Resales / Resale Certificate (View Unit Resale page)

RCW 64.90.495(2)-(6) - Association Records

(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (4) of this section, all records required to be retained by an association must be made available for examination and copying by all unit owners, holders of mortgages on the units, and their respective authorized agents as follows, unless agreed otherwise:

(a) During reasonable business hours or at a mutually convenient time and location; and

(b) At the offices of the association or its managing agent.

(3) Records retained by an association may be withheld from inspection and copying to the extent that they concern:

(a) Personnel and medical records relating to specific individuals;

(b) Contracts, leases, and other commercial transactions to purchase or provide goods or services currently being negotiated;

(c) Existing or potential litigation or mediation, arbitration, or administrative proceedings;

(d) Existing or potential matters involving federal, state, or local administrative or other formal proceedings before a governmental tribunal for enforcement of the governing documents;

(e) Legal advice or communications that are otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine, including communications with the managing agent or other agent of the association;

(f) Information the disclosure of which would violate a court order or law;

(g) Records of an executive session of the board;

(h) Individual unit files other than those of the requesting unit owner;

(i) Unlisted telephone number or electronic address of any unit owner or resident;

(j) Security access information provided to the association for emergency purposes; or

(k) Agreements that for good cause prohibit disclosure to the members.

(4) An association may charge a reasonable fee for producing and providing copies of any records under this section and for supervising the unit owner's inspection.

(5) A right to copy records under this section includes the right to receive copies by photocopying or other means, including through an electronic transmission if available upon request by the unit owner.

(6) An association is not obligated to compile or synthesize information.

Disclosure: Condominium Act (RCW 64.34)

RCW 64.34.372(1)- Association Records - Funds

(1) The association shall keep financial records sufficiently detailed to enable the association to comply with RCW 64.34.425. All financial and other records of the association, including but not limited to checks, bank records, and invoices, are the property of the association, but shall be made reasonably available for examination and copying by the manager of the association, any unit owner, or the owner's authorized agents...

RCW 64.34.425(2) - Resale of Unit (View Unit Resale page)

(2) The association, within ten days after a request by a unit owner, and subject to payment of any fee imposed pursuant to RCW 64.34.304(1)(l), shall furnish a resale certificate signed by an officer or authorized agent of the association and containing the information necessary to enable the unit owner to comply with this section...

Disclosure: Florida HOAs


(4) OFFICIAL RECORDS. — The association shall maintain each of the following items, when applicable, which constitute the official records of the association:

(a) Copies of any plans, specifications, permits, and warranties related to improvements constructed on the common areas or other property that the association is obligated to maintain, repair, or replace.

(b) A copy of the bylaws of the association and of each amendment to the bylaws.

(c) A copy of the articles of incorporation of the association and of each amendment thereto.

(d) A copy of the declaration of covenants and a copy of each amendment thereto.

(e) A copy of the current rules of the homeowners’ association.

(f) The minutes of all meetings of the board of directors and of the members, which minutes must be retained for at least 7 years.

(g) A current roster of all members and their mailing addresses and parcel identifications. The association shall also maintain the electronic mailing addresses and the numbers designated by members for receiving notice sent by electronic transmission of those members consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The electronic mailing addresses and numbers provided by unit owners to receive notice by electronic transmission shall be removed from association records when consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is revoked. However, the association is not liable for an erroneous disclosure of the electronic mail address or the number for receiving electronic transmission of notices.

(h) All of the association’s insurance policies or a copy thereof, which policies must be retained for at least 7 years.

(i) A current copy of all contracts to which the association is a party, including, without limitation, any management agreement, lease, or other contract under which the association has any obligation or responsibility. Bids received by the association for work to be performed must also be considered official records and must be kept for a period of 1 year.

(j) The financial and accounting records of the association, kept according to good accounting practices. All financial and accounting records must be maintained for a period of at least 7 years. The financial and accounting records must include:

1. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.

2. A current account and a periodic statement of the account for each member, designating the name and current address of each member who is obligated to pay assessments, the due date and amount of each assessment or other charge against the member, the date and amount of each payment on the account, and the balance due.

3. All tax returns, financial statements, and financial reports of the association.

4. Any other records that identify, measure, record, or communicate financial information.

(k) A copy of the disclosure summary described in s. 720.401(1).

(l) Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers and electronic records relating to voting by parcel owners, which must be maintained for at least 1 year after the date of the election, vote, or meeting.

(m) All affirmative acknowledgments made pursuant to s. 720.3085(3)(c)3.

(n) All other written records of the association not specifically included in this subsection which are related to the operation of the association.

(5) INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS. — The official records shall be maintained within the state for at least 7 years and shall be made available to a parcel owner for inspection or photocopying within 45 miles of the community or within the county in which the association is located within 10 business days after receipt by the board or its designee of a written request.

This subsection may be complied with by having a copy of the official records available for inspection or copying in the community or, at the option of the association, by making the records available to a parcel owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records to be viewed in electronic format on a computer screen and printed upon request.

If the association has a photocopy machine available where the records are maintained, it must provide parcel owners with copies on request during the inspection if the entire request is limited to no more than 25 pages.

An association shall allow a member or his or her authorized representative to use a portable device, including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an electronic copy of the official records in lieu of the association’s providing the member or his or her authorized representative with a copy of such records. The association may not charge a fee to a member or his or her authorized representative for the use of a portable device.

(a) The failure of an association to provide access to the records within 10 business days after receipt of a written request submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested, creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this subsection.

(b) A member who is denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s willful failure to comply with this subsection. The minimum damages are to be $50 per calendar day up to 10 days, the calculation to begin on the 11th business day after receipt of the written request.

(c) The association may adopt reasonable written rules governing the frequency, time, location, notice, records to be inspected, and manner of inspections, but may not require a parcel owner to demonstrate any proper purpose for the inspection, state any reason for the inspection, or limit a parcel owner’s right to inspect records to less than one 8-hour business day per month.

The association may impose fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official records, including the costs of copying and the costs required for personnel to retrieve and copy the records if the time spent retrieving and copying the records exceeds one-half hour and if the personnel costs do not exceed $20 per hour. Personnel costs may not be charged for records requests that result in the copying of 25 or fewer pages.

The association may charge up to 25 cents per page for copies made on the association’s photocopier. If the association does not have a photocopy machine available where the records are kept, or if the records requested to be copied exceed 25 pages in length, the association may have copies made by an outside duplicating service and may charge the actual cost of copying, as supported by the vendor invoice. The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of the recorded governing documents, to ensure their availability to members and prospective members. Notwithstanding this paragraph, the following records are not accessible to members or parcel owners:

1. Any record protected by the lawyer-client privilege as described in s. 90.502 and any record protected by the work-product privilege, including, but not limited to, a record prepared by an association attorney or prepared at the attorney’s express direction which reflects a mental impression, conclusion, litigation strategy, or legal theory of the attorney or the association and which was prepared exclusively for civil or criminal litigation or for adversarial administrative proceedings or which was prepared in anticipation of such litigation or proceedings until the conclusion of the litigation or proceedings.

2. Information obtained by an association in connection with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a parcel.

3. Information an association obtains in a gated community in connection with guests’ visits to parcel owners or community residents.

4. Personnel records of association or management company employees, including, but not limited to, disciplinary, payroll, health, and insurance records. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include written employment agreements with an association or management company employee or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association or management company employee.

5. Medical records of parcel owners or community residents.

6. Social security numbers, driver license numbers, credit card numbers, electronic mailing addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile numbers, emergency contact information, any addresses for a parcel owner other than as provided for association notice requirements, and other personal identifying information of any person, excluding the person’s name, parcel designation, mailing address, and property address. Notwithstanding the restrictions in this subparagraph, an association may print and distribute to parcel owners a directory containing the name, parcel address, and all telephone numbers of each parcel owner. However, an owner may exclude his or her telephone numbers from the directory by so requesting in writing to the association. An owner may consent in writing to the disclosure of other contact information described in this subparagraph. The association is not liable for the disclosure of information that is protected under this subparagraph if the information is included in an official record of the association and is voluntarily provided by an owner and not requested by the association.

7. Any electronic security measure that is used by the association to safeguard data, including passwords.

8. The software and operating system used by the association which allows the manipulation of data, even if the owner owns a copy of the same software used by the association. The data is part of the official records of the association.

Example Record Disclosure demand

WA State - EXAMPLE Record Inspection Demand Letter