How you can obtain association records
Q: I have made various inquiries to the management of our homeowners association about the salaries of our employees. I have been denied access to this information.
We are members and pay dues and assessments and I am concerned as to how much we spend on services. I would like to reduce our budget but have been denied certain information for me to evaluate possible reductions in our expenses. Any information concerning this problem is appreciated.
Also, how I can receive these figures under the Florida Sunshine Laws would be appreciated.
A: Changes to the statutes have restricted certain employee payroll amounts from the requirements regarding disclosure of financial records for public information.
As to the Florida Sunshine Laws, they do not cover condominiums, HOA or a cooperative as that law applies only to government agencies.
You should read the statutes for a list of association records that are available for member reviews (FS 718.111, FS 720.303, or FS 719.104).
In order to request to view the records or obtain copies, you need to send a letter to the board of directors (you may want to send the letter by certified mail) and ask for specific records.
If you want copies, the board has a right to charge a reasonable copy cost.
As an owner, you have the duty to verify that the records are properly retained and this would require that you review them. You also have a duty to serve the association by volunteering. You can become a candidate to serve as a director or be on a committee.
Since you are concerned about the financial records, I suggest that you volunteer to be on the budget committee and then you can help with the evaluation of each line item on the budget.
Keep this one fact in mind: The statutes direct the board of directors to maintain the association and require the board to approve a budget that is adequate to accomplish this requirement. The statute does not say to approve a budget to save money that is less than the amount needed to maintain the association property.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.