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Subject: Freedon of Information Act
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Author Messages
MaryannC1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:10


11/29/2018 3:29 PM  
Does the FOIA apply to HOAs? Our new BOD has not been forthcoming as to what changes they are trying to make in our community. I understand that the Sunshine Act does not apply. Thanks in advance for replies!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5950


11/29/2018 3:55 PM  
Can's answer your question, but ask you: Does your board have open meetings?? Or are board meetings closed to owners as I believe is allowed in PA?
MaryannC1
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:10


11/29/2018 4:09 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 11/29/2018 3:55 PM
Can's answer your question, but ask you: Does your board have open meetings?? Or are board meetings closed to owners as I believe is allowed in PA?





Monthly meetings were always open before the new Chairperson was put in charge. They have had some closed meetings which are apparently allowed. Past members of the board are concerned that this board is trying to make changes that go against our deed covenants, perhaps with no knowledge of the deed covenants themselves. Is there a way that past board members can legally find out what they are doing?
AugustinD


Posts:1208


11/29/2018 4:13 PM  
The federal FOIA and state FOIAs rarely if ever apply to HOAs. But every state I have seen has a statute that allows members access to most of a HOA's records. In Pennsylvania, the statute for HOAs appears to be the Uniform Planned Community Act.

From it:
5316(a) All financial and other records shall be made reasonably available for examination by any unit owner and authorized agents. See http://pacondolaw.com/home-2/home-2/uniform-planned-community-act/

If your HOA is a condo, then the Pennsylvania Uniform Condo Act says the same thing:

3316. All financial and other records shall be made reasonably available for examination by any unit owner and his authorized agents. See http://pacondolaw.com/home-2/home-2/uniform-condominium-act/

Can you confirm whether you are a HOA or Condo?

The next step is to read your HOA's Bylaws and CC&Rs and see what they say about board meetings being open or closed and inspection of records by members.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5950


11/29/2018 7:00 PM  
Augustine gives good advice, Maryann. You need to learn what materials you may inspect in your PA HOA. If board meeting meeting minutes are among them, take the steps necessary to obtain those minutes. The former board members should know what documents members (owners) are permitted to inspect. In a "closed meeting state" like PA, it's possible the current board doesn't have to make board meeting minutes available to owners.

To answer your question: No. former board members have no access to current materials that are in closed minutes.

But if the current board wants to amend your convents (CC&Rs; restrictions; declaration), they'll most likely need to send the amendments out to owners for a vote. Your covenants will say what percent of votes of approval are needed to amend them. Often it's 67% of all owners or even more. So the Board would be stupid to spring major changes on the membership without meetings in advance to try to sell the members on the changes. Put another way, the board can't just change your convents any way they wish.

I agree that secrecy gives rise to suspicion and distrust. Unfortunately, the board in my HOA also has been very secretive as of late. Owners are pissed off.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5950


11/29/2018 7:02 PM  
Augustine gives good advice, Maryann. You need to learn what materials you may inspect in your PA HOA. If Approved board meeting minutes are among them, take the steps necessary to obtain those minutes. The former board members should know what documents members (owners) are permitted to inspect. In a "closed meeting state" like PA, it's possible the current board need not make board meeting minutes available to owners.

To answer your question: No. former board members have no access to current materials that are in closed minutes.

But if the current board wants to amend your covenants (CC&Rs; restrictions; declaration), they'll most likely need to send the amendments out to owners for a vote. Your covenants do state what percent of votes of approval are needed to amend them. Often it's 67% of all owners or even more. So the Board would be stupid to spring major changes on the membership without meetings in advance to try to sell the members on the changes. Put another way, the board can't just change your convents any way they wish.

I agree that secrecy gives rise to suspicion and distrust. Unfortunately, the board in my HOA also has been very secretive as of late. Owners are pissed off.
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