HOA Documents And Reports Every Homeowner Must Have Access To

Homeowners associations deal with mountains of HOA documents and reports, but not all of them are available for members to peruse. What documents and records should members have access to?

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Homeowners associations deal with mountains of HOA documents and reports, but not all of them are available for members to peruse. What documents and records should members have access to?


Can Homeowners View HOA Documents and Reports?

Broadly speaking, members of an HOA possess the right to copy and inspect the official records of the association. This right can usually be found under state law or in the governing documents of the HOA (or both). State laws can vary on the subject matter, though. Some states have very comprehensive laws regarding records inspection, while others do not.

California is a good example of a state with detailed records inspection laws for HOAs. Civil Code Section 5205 states that associations must make association records available for member inspection and copying. Another example is Arizona. Under Section 33-1805(A) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, associations must make all financial and other records of the HOA reasonably available for member examination. In Nevada, Section 116B.680 of the Nevada Revised Statutes states something similar.

An association’s governing documents can also detail the right of members to examine and copy the HOA’s records. Homeowners will usually find this outlined in the association’s CC&Rs or declaration. More often than not, the declaration also lists down what HOA documents and reports are available for viewing and copying. Many associations must also abide by certain time frame requirements to produce the records upon receiving the request from an owner.


Which HOA Documents and Reports Should Be Available?

The exact documents and reports that fall under the official records of the HOA can also vary from one state to another. Some states expressly list the records that must be made available for member inspection, while others adopt a broader approach.

In general, though, the HOA documents and reports that owners must have access to include the following:

  • hoa accounting recordsThe association’s governing documents, including the Articles of Incorporation, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), the Bylaws, Community Plats/Maps, and any amendments;
  • All documents provided by the developer, including land surveys and permits;
  • Rules and regulations;
  • Minutes of all board and membership meetings;
  • Notices of all board and membership meetings;
  • The association’s insurance policies;
  • Vendor contracts and other third-party agreements;
  • Copies of liens, judgments, and encumbrances related to the association;
  • All documents related to the election of board members (directors and officers), voting, and approvals (proxies, ballots, etc.);
  • All accounting records, including but not limited to the records of expenditures and receipts, account ledgers for each member, financial reports, financial reviews and/or audits, and invoices; and,
  • Membership list that includes the members’ mailing addresses and telephone numbers.


Where Can Homeowners Access HOA Documents?

Homeowners usually receive a copy of the most pertinent association records upon the transfer of the property or initial sale. This includes the governing documents, financial records, restrictive covenants, insurance policies, and other important documents. But, changes and amendments can occur, and owners lose their copies all the time. When that happens, how can I get a copy of my HOA bylaws, CC&Rs, and other documents? If you’re wondering how to get HOA statement and other reports, there are several ways.

The first is to speak to the association directly. The HOA board or manager can assist homeowners with their request to copy and examine the records of the association. Homeowners will have to follow the procedure for requesting records, which usually involves submitting a written request. However, many associations make these records readily available for viewing through their HOA website.

Upon submitting a request, associations normally have a period of X days to respond to the request or produce the documents. The timeframe depends greatly on where the HOA is located. For instance, in Utah, associations have 14 days to make records available for inspection. In other states, members must provide X days’ notice prior to examining the HOA documents and reports.

The second way is to search the public records of the county recorder’s office where the association is located. Associations often need to file and record their documents with the county recorder, though not all documents have to go through this. Generally, associations must record their governing documents with the recorder’s office.


Disclosure Requirements for Sellers

In most states, sellers must provide buyers with the governing documents of the HOA prior to closing. These documents are part of the disclosure packet given to the buyer, allowing the buyer to decide whether or not to push through with the sale. Because associations often have strict rules regarding property use, buyers might not always agree with them. Sellers typically must cover the cost of producing these disclosure documents.

Buyers should carefully check that the seller has provided them with all the necessary documents. Apart from the governing documents of the HOA, it is also worth requesting financial reports and meeting minutes. This will give buyers a glimpse into the financial and operational stability of the association.


Can an HOA Charge a Fee for Records Inspection?

hoa records inspectionWhen a homeowner requests a copy of the association’s documents, they might be surprised to find that it comes with a charge. But, is this something HOAs can do? It really depends on state laws and the governing documents.

Many states allow associations to charge a reasonable fee when owners request to review documents. This fee usually covers administrative costs, such as the cost of photocopying the records and the cost of mailing them. California explicitly allows HOAs to collect such a fee under Civil Code Section 5205, though there is a cap on how much they can charge.

In Arizona, associations may not charge more than 15 cents per page for copies. Another Arizona law, Section 33-1806, limits the amount an association may charge for preparing disclosure documents. The Grand Canyon State caps disclosure fees at an aggregate of $400.


The Final Word

Homeowners associations should generally provide members access to HOA documents and reports. If an HOA does not have a website, it should establish a procedure for records inspection that conforms with state laws. In doing so, it can standardize the process for requesting records, allowing for a smooth workflow.

Many HOA boards don’t have the time or experience necessary to manage an entire community. This is where an HOA management company comes in. Browse our online directory today to look for reliable HOA management companies in your area!



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