Are HOA Records Open to Inspection?

Presumably, most readers come here to learn about Utah community association law, but I want to try to turn the tables, because I’ve perplexed myself.

I’m wondering if anyone out there can point to any authority that would require the board (management committee if you prefer) of an unincorporated homeowners association to produce records for inspection.  I could have sworn there was such a provision in the Utah Community Association Act, but I can’t find it.

Any help out there?

5 thoughts on “Are HOA Records Open to Inspection?

  1. Fellow Bloggers… I hope my comments did not get posted multiple times as I’ve tried to reply but it does not show any comments being left – if so – I’m sorry.

    In any event I am only aware of the new requirements in the Condominium Ownership Act whereby an owner can inspect to request receipts of expenditures for common area expenses. I know of nohting in the Community Association Act that deals with records.

    Your question begs a very serious discussion on (1) what is the true meaning of ‘record’ under the Nonprofit Act; and (2) should you be incorporated at all if you end up being subjected to a ‘records request’ where someone wants to see something in the file an the “file” happens to contain 20 years of material…. Are you required to produce everything you have if you are incorporated?

  2. Hi Lincoln:

    I can’t find anything in the Utah Code on point regarding unincorporated HOA’s. But last year Texas adopted a new law that would cover both incorporated and unincorporated. Very little on unincorporated HOA’s in Utah.
    Could they qualify as a different kind of entity? Mutual benefit something-or-another?

    Here’s what Texas did in 2011: “The 2011 Legislative Session made quite a few changes to the power of the HOA’s. House Bill 2761 made law that all HOA’s must establish written policies for requesting, producing, charging copies of HOA records, as well as policies for record maintenance and retention. HOA’s may not hide them, or protect them from disclosure. A homeowner who has requested records from the HOA may sue in JP Court with the additional help of being reimbursed for any attorney fees if he wins the case.”

    Why don’t you suggest to our Utah Legislature this year something similar, using established IRS records retention rules, to limit the voluminous files John Richards mentioned.

  3. The Condominium Ownership Act:

    57-8-17. Records of receipts and expenditures — Availability for examination

    (2) The manager or management committee shall:

    (a) keep detailed, accurate records in chronological order, of the receipts and expenditures affecting the common areas and facilities, specifying and itemizing the maintenance and repair expenses of the common areas and facilities and any other expenses incurred; and

    (b) make those records available for examination by any unit owner at convenient hours of weekdays no later than 14 days after the unit owner makes a written request to examine the records.

  4. 57-8-17. Records of receipts and expenditures — Availability for examination

    (2) The manager or management committee shall:

    (a) keep detailed, accurate records in chronological order, of the receipts and expenditures affecting the common areas and facilities, specifying and itemizing the maintenance and repair expenses of the common areas and facilities and any other expenses incurred; and

    (b) make those records available for examination by any unit owner at convenient hours of weekdays no later than 14 days after the unit owner makes a written request to examine the records.

  5. With respect to an HOA (as opposed to a condominium), seehttp://casemakerlegal.com/bDocView.aspx?statecd=UT&codesec=57-8a-227&sessionyr=2016&Title=57&version=1&datatype=S&cvfilename=utstatcv2016Title57Chapter8a.htm&noheader=0&nojumpmsg=0&userid=REPLACE_LOGINID&searchlevel=3&searchvalue=%A7+57%2D8a%2D227%2E+Records+%2D+Availability+for+examination&categoryAlias=STATUTES&state=Utah&strdatatype=STAT&catcalled=Code&browseLevel=3
    Assuming that link doesn’t work, here’s the text:
    § 57-8a-227. Records – Availability for examination

    (1)
    (a) Subject to Subsection (1)(b), an association shall keep and make documents available to lot owners in accordance with Sections 16-6a-1601 through 1603, 16-6a-1605, 16-6a-1606 , and 16-6a-1610 , regardless of whether the association is incorporated under Title 16, Chapter 6a, Utah Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act.
    (b) An association may redact the following information from any document the association produces for inspection or copying:
    (i) a Social Security number;
    (ii) a bank account number; or
    (iii) any communication subject to attorney-client privilege.
    (2)
    (a) In addition to the requirements described in Subsection (1), an association shall make documents available to lot owners in accordance with the association’s governing documents.
    (b) If a provision of an association’s governing documents conflicts with a provision of this section, the provision of this section governs.
    (3) In a request to inspect or copy documents, a lot owner may:
    (a) elect whether to inspect or copy the documents;
    (b) if the lot owner elects to copy the documents, request hard copies or electronic scans of the documents; or
    (c) subject to Subsection (4), request that:
    (i) the association make the copies or electronic scans of the requested documents;
    (ii) a recognized third party duplicating service make the copies or electronic scans of the requested documents; or
    (iii) the lot owner be allowed to bring any necessary imaging equipment to the place of inspection and make copies or electronic scans of the documents while inspecting the documents.
    (4)
    (a) An association shall comply with a request described in Subsection (3).
    (b) If an association produces the copies or electronic scans:
    (i) the copies or electronic scans shall be legible and accurate; and
    (ii) the lot owner shall pay the association the reasonable cost of the copies or electronic scans, which may not exceed:
    (A) the actual cost that the association paid to a recognized third party duplicating service to make the copies or electronic scans; or
    (B) if an employee, manager, or other agent of the association makes the copies or electronic scans, 10 cents per page and $15 per hour for the employee’s, manager’s, or other agent’s time making the copies or electronic scans.
    (c) If a lot owner requests a recognized third party duplicating service make the copies or electronic scans:
    (i) the association shall arrange for the delivery and pick up of the original documents; and
    (ii) the lot owner shall pay the duplicating service directly.
    (d) If a lot owner requests to bring imaging equipment to the inspection, the association shall provide the necessary space, light, and power for the imaging equipment.
    (5) If, in response to a lot owner’s request to inspect or copy documents, an association fails to comply with a provision of this section, the association shall pay:
    (a) the reasonable costs of inspecting and copying the requested documents; and
    (b) reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the lot owner in obtaining the inspection and copies of the requested documents.
    (6)
    (a) In addition to any remedy in the association’s governing documents or otherwise provided by law, a lot owner may file an action in court under this section if:
    (i) an association fails to make documents available to the lot owner in accordance with this section, the association’s governing documents, or as otherwise provided by law; and
    (ii) the association fails to timely comply with a notice described in Subsection (6)(d).
    (b) In an action described in Subsection (6)(a):
    (i) the lot owner may request:
    (A) injunctive relief requiring the association to comply with the provisions of this section;
    (B) $500 or actual damage, whichever is greater; or
    (C) any other relief provided by law; and
    (ii) the court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party, including any reasonable attorney fees incurred before the action was filed that relate to the request that is the subject of the action.
    (c)
    (i) In an action described in Subsection (6)(a), upon motion by the lot owner, notice to the association, and a hearing in which the court finds a likelihood that the association failed to comply with a provision of this section, the court shall order the association to immediately comply with the provision.
    (ii) The court shall hold a hearing described in Subsection (6)(c)(i) within 30 days after the day on which the lot owner files the motion.
    (d) At least 10 days before the day on which a lot owner files an action described in Subsection (6)(a), the lot owner shall deliver a written notice to the association that states:
    (i) the lot owner’s name, address, telephone number, and email address;
    (ii) each requirement of this section with which the association has failed to comply;
    (iii) a demand that the association comply with each requirement with which the association has failed to comply; and
    (iv) a date by which the association shall remedy the association’s noncompliance that is at least 10 days after the day on which the lot owner delivers the notice to the association.
    (7)
    (a) The provisions of Section 16-6a-1604 do not apply to an association.
    (b) The provisions of this section apply regardless of any conflicting provision in Title 16, Chapter 6a, Utah Revised Nonprofit Corporation Act.
    (8) A lot owner’s agent may, on the lot owner’s behalf, exercise or assert any right that the lot owner has under this section.

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