Unit Owners have the Right to Inspect and Photo Cop
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Last updated: Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Within ten days of a written request, unit owners can inspect and photo copy community records during normal business hours. If the association has available a photocopier, then the member can have up to twenty-five copies made during the same inspection. However, the association may adopt reason rules and regulations governing the frequency, time, location and notice of records to be inspected. To compensate for administrative and office fees, the association can charge up to 50 cents per photocopy.

If the association fails to comply with this subsection (720.303), after the eleventh day, a minimum of $50 dollars per day charge up to ten days can be awarded to the member. The circuit courts recognize this statute as “rebuttable presumption”, failure to provide access to official records.

The official records should include the following:

Complete set of current community documents with the Rules & Regulations. Also, an adequate number of updated documents must be made available to members or new members, which includes Declaration of Covenants, Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. Common questions & answers should also be attached.

Minutes are kept for seven years.

Copies of any site maps, 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.

All contracts with warrantees and competitive bids must be kept for a period of one year.

Insurance policies and all financial reporting are kept for seven years, including annual corporate reporting and tax returns.

A good rule of thumb might be; written records, which are related to the daily operation of association business, must be kept for a period of seven years.

For more fun facts see, “Commingling of Association Funds”. To review supporting documents, click here.
720.303, (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)  All other written records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.
(5)  INSPECTION AND COPYING OF RECORDS.–The official records shall be maintained within the state and must be open to inspection and available for photocopying by members or their authorized agents at reasonable times and places within 10 business days after receipt of a written request for access. This subsection may be complied with by having a copy of the official records available for inspection or copying in the community. 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.
(a)  The failure of an association to provide access to the records within 10 business days after receipt of a written request 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 impose a requirement that a parcel owner 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, without limitation, the costs of copying. The association may charge up to 50 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 vendor and may charge the actual cost of copying. The association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of the recorded governing documents, to ensure their availability to members and prospective members. Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, the following records shall not be accessible to members or parcel owners:

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