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Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Subject: Right to copies of documents from Management
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Author Messages
CharooM1
(New Jersey)

Posts:7


01/12/2018 9:34 AM  
My Board of Directors has deemed it necessary to take out a total loan of 2.1 million. They never told us homeowners they were adding 800,000+ to initial loan and now it is a total of 2.1M. At open meetings their answers are vague and us owners never know what is going on. The Management company representative gives vague and false statements and answers to our questions as well. I have documented proof of this. In agreement with other owners, I have requested a list of copies of documents from management, such as closing papers of loans, its application, the projects and amounts listed for necessity of initial plus additional loan, past audits, contracts and prosals from laundry vendor since 1997, etc. Management rep first did not want to provide, now he says we can go to his head office to just "view" the documents. Don't we, as owners, who put our faith in the Board to do right by us, have a right to hard or even electronic copies of these past papers?

They have so much to hide and that is why Now we are asking for copies. Incidentally, the management rep's office is close, and head office is two hours away!

Please advise of our rights.
CjC
(Maryland)

Posts:59


01/12/2018 10:22 AM  
You need to check your documents and your state laws. We have the right to view, inspect and make copies and if copies are made for us, they can charge a reasonable amount of money for those copies. They do not have to send them to every member of the community unless asked by each member and each member would have to pay a fee.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2037


01/12/2018 10:33 AM  
You posted this twice, so I'll respond here.

You do have a right to review most association documents, but I don't think you need to go back 20 years. Not every association has all this stuff stored electronically - that requires another set of considerations and expense, so if you need to go to the office to take a look, a group of you should schedule it. If you want to photocopy anything, there will be a charge for that (which is allowed most of the time), so you may want to start with the last two-five years of data: meeting minutes, itemized budgets, balance sheets and income/expense statements, as well as the contracts for this upcoming work. The minutes should give you an idea of how all this came about - is the loan for major repairs and replacement to the common areas? If so, was the additional $800K added because more damage was discovered? Remember, some of the work may require building permits and the codes have likely changes (along with the prices). Read those contracts carefully so you'll understand what's being done and when. The minutes should note if the Board obtained several bids - if not, why not? Why weren't the homeowners told more work and money would be necessary?

Oh, yeah, you also need to look at the reserve fund (hopefully, you have one). When was the last time the board commissioned a reserve study? How much is in the fund now? Has the board been funding reserves regularly and according to the reserve study recommendations? If not, why not?

Put together a list of questions, submit them to the board with a deadline when you'd like an answer and make sure it's shared with all homeowners. If the board tries to ignore you or refuse to provide the information, check your documents to see how homeowners can call for a special meeting - this one will be needed to recall these guys and gals. If you succeed in tossing them, you need to have other homeowners ready to step in their place (and yes, YOU may need to be one of the new board members). That's usually the best way to deal with this, but if things deteriorate where an attorney may be necessary, you and your neighbors will have to chip in and get one - he or she can tell you what your options are (it's not a good idea to ask for legal advice via the internet).

As for the management company, they take their directors from the Board, which is supposed to be running the association on behalf of the homeowners, so your real beef is with the Board. If you succeed in tossing this board, you can take a closer look at their conduct to see if you want it to continue as your property manager.

PS: If these contracts have already been signed, you probably won't be able to cancel them and start over, so if there is a new board, you'll need to begin talking about its impact on your budget and how it will be addressed. Spoiler alert - assessments WILL go up, as you'll need to repay the loan, fund reserves and pay for routine maintenance. You may even a special assessment or two to help with the finances in the short term.

CharooM1
(New Jersey)

Posts:7


01/12/2018 10:47 AM  
Yes, thank you. I just downloaded NJ state law!
CharooM1
(New Jersey)

Posts:7


01/12/2018 10:57 AM  
Thank you! I have already submitted my list of requests. What you bring up is very helpful, and after I look over what I get, I will be able to address the issues you bring up. They have the signed contracts from 1997 and renewed from 2007. What I specifically am interested in is the 2014 proposal they ignored and decided to purchase own laundry machines, etc. They glorified this by saying now We will be in charge of it all. Because of disorganization and foreseeable thought, we have had no laundry room since July 31, 2017. We have this go elsewhere. This is an amenity that now is not available, going on 7 months. Plus they decided to charge for use of gym room - which has always been free to owners (my building is 65 yrs old).

We were told that the budget proposal for 2018 is expenses equals income so we will be at zero, "which is where we want to be, its not a negative."
CharooM1
(New Jersey)

Posts:7


01/12/2018 9:45 PM  
Thank you, Tim, although I don't see your response here and only on email notification. But yes, it is a condominium. And the link you provided is much appreciated!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4632


01/13/2018 8:58 AM  
In CA, which is very homeowner-friendly, we owners won't receive many documents that are much over two years old. Minutes, of course, are an exception. In addition, our PM is not required to compile documents, let's say, all fines for noise nuisances. What about NJ?
CharooM1
(New Jersey)

Posts:7


01/13/2018 12:59 PM  
Hi there, Minutes??? What are those??? Lol.....in my almost two decades we have Not received minutes, despite repeated requests. I even volunteered and did it For them once, ten years ago, hoping they would get the hint. As far as the 1997 mention, it is one of two contracts that were signed ten years apart with a vendor. They are required to keep all signed contracts. We are also allowed to view paperwork requested (thanks for the websites and input, guys!). T

This forum is proving to be very helpful....I'm not alone anymore!😀

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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Right to copies of documents from Management



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