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Subject: Giving out documents.
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Author Messages
CaseyH4
(Virginia)

Posts:4


03/12/2020 11:14 AM  
What is everyones thoughts on giving non residents HOA documents of Covenants and bylaws? There is someone looking to buy and want to see our rules.

I personally wouldnt mind giving it to them, however,I know owners typically pay for these docs when they buy their home.

Their is also a refinance rep asking for these records. What is everyones thoughts?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3048


03/12/2020 11:38 AM  
The potential buyer should be going to the seller and the refinance rep should go to whoever's trying to refinance their home (surely the documents they got at closing are buried somewhere in the house. The Bylaws might also be registered with the county recorder's office so the buyer and the seller could check there.

Are you the property manager? If so, ask the board how they want this to be handled. Depending on the number of pages, it would be ok to charge for printing and postage. If they're already posted on the community website as a PDF, they can be downloaded and emailed that way. If you're the seller, you can do that - or make a copy of your documents and hand them over.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9299


03/12/2020 11:38 AM  
If a simple, no cost Email I say do it. Otherwise a small charge would be proper to cover any costs.

I find when you hide things or make it hard for someone to find out things, this might come back to haunt you.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:706


03/12/2020 11:50 AM  
I would have had all my governing documents for every association scanned and able to email at a moments notice. Each association had a webpage and that information was also posted, so a prospective buyer could always pulled the information from there.

I would rather have a buyer that was looking for the information ahead of time then one that just went through the motions and never read anything.

I had done this in the past and it took no more than one minute of my precious time to process.
DeidreB
(Virginia)

Posts:76


03/12/2020 11:55 AM  
My thoughts:

For people looking to buy, the Virginia Property Owner's Association Act spells out the process for communicating HOA documents called the resale or association disclosure packet.

You don't state if this is your house and the potential buyer is asking about your house. If that is the case, it's between you and your realtor if you decide to provide them an advance copy before they sign a contract. If they do sign a contract there is a more involved resale disclosure packet you will have to get from your HOA and provide to the buyer. It will include much more than just the Declaration and By Laws (see below).

If you are a board member and a buyer has contacted you about a home in the HOA, I think you should follow the process spelled out in the law referenced below and only provide the documents to the seller upon request.

I often see homeowners providing HOA insurance policies and "statements of dues for the coming year" to home insurance companies & refinancing reps. If they want a copy of your declaration, I see no problem with it since it "runs with the land" anyway and is accessible to the public through your county clerk. By Laws are pretty benign and if it facilitates your refinancing I see no issue with it.

Reference:
If someone wants to buy a house in Virginia, the seller is required to provide the contract buyer with a resale disclosure packet. I posted the relevant excerpts below along with the link:

"§ 55.1-1808. (Effective October 1, 2019) Contract disclosure statement; right of cancellation.......B. Subject to the provisions of subsection A of § 55.1-1814, an owner selling a lot shall disclose in the contract that (i) the lot is located within a development that is subject to the Property Owners' Association Act (§ 55.1-1800 et seq.); (ii) the Property Owners' Association Act (§ 55.1-1800 et seq.) requires the seller to obtain from the property owners' association an association disclosure packet and provide it to the purchaser; (iii) the purchaser may cancel the contract within three days after receiving the association disclosure packet or being notified that the association disclosure packet will not be available; (iv) if the purchaser has received the association disclosure packet, the purchaser has a right to request an update of such disclosure packet in accordance with subsection H of § 55.1-1810 or subsection D of § 55.1-1811, as appropriate; and (v) the right to receive the association disclosure packet and the right to cancel the contract are waived conclusively if not exercised before settlement."

"§ 55.1-1809. (Effective October 1, 2019) Contents of association disclosure packet; delivery of packet.
A. Within 14 days after receipt of a written request and instructions by a seller or the seller's authorized agent, the association shall deliver an association disclosure packet as directed in the written request. The information contained in the association disclosure packet shall be current as of a date specified on the association disclosure packet. If hand or electronically delivered, the written request is deemed received on the date of delivery. If sent by United States mail, the request is deemed received six days after the postmark date. An association disclosure packet shall contain the following:

13. A copy of the current declaration, the association's articles of incorporation and bylaws, and any rules and regulations or architectural guidelines adopted by the association;"

https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodepopularnames/property-owners-association-act/
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/12/2020 11:58 AM  
If you have state laws governing this, just follow them.

I think we are at a point where, GENERALLY, we all have our governing docs - Articles of Incorporation, CCRs, Rules and Regulations and Bylaws online. My last two neighborhoods have these in the open section of the website. Just tell everyone they are welcome to review them.
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:297


03/12/2020 12:53 PM  
The governing documents for the association I manage are posted online at a website anyone can access.

They are public documents on file with the county, there is no need to restrict access.

I don't make copies or attach them to emails, just direct people to the website.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:28


03/12/2020 1:15 PM  
Online is the way to go. If possible, email the documents to the interested buyer. Transparency is a good thing here as they will understand how the HOA works before committing to live there.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/12/2020 4:25 PM  
It should be noted that the CC&R's and Articles of Incorporation are considered PUBLIC documents. It is also viewed as the buyer's responsibility to be informed. Some states make it the seller's responsibility to provide the documents while other states do not. So the buyer can easily go to the county courthouse records department to get a copy of the CC&R's. The state should have a copy of the Articles of Incorporation. All of these may be online as well.

However, By-laws are a bit tricky. They are NOT public documents. They are internal to the HOA. However, sometimes they are filed WITH the CC&R's. Out of convenience, record keeping, or other reasons.

So if your HOA wants to give these documents out. Why do you want to take on the expense?

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:706


03/12/2020 4:41 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 03/12/2020 4:25 PM
It should be noted that the CC&R's and Articles of Incorporation are considered PUBLIC documents. It is also viewed as the buyer's responsibility to be informed. Some states make it the seller's responsibility to provide the documents while other states do not. So the buyer can easily go to the county courthouse records department to get a copy of the CC&R's. The state should have a copy of the Articles of Incorporation. All of these may be online as well.

However, By-laws are a bit tricky. They are NOT public documents. They are internal to the HOA. However, sometimes they are filed WITH the CC&R's. Out of convenience, record keeping, or other reasons.

So if your HOA wants to give these documents out. Why do you want to take on the expense?



What expense?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9127


03/12/2020 4:57 PM  
The expense of paper copies or disk. Plus any labor to make this happen. Last time I checked paper or cd's were not free...

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/12/2020 5:12 PM  
If they aren’t online and available this way, they should be.

I can’t imagine anyone using CDs or paper.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:613


03/12/2020 8:22 PM  
I can't think of any reason not to share them with anyone who wants to see them. If they are filed with real estate records they are public anyway. We have our posted publicly on our website.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3664


03/13/2020 2:50 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/12/2020 5:12 PM
If they aren’t online and available this way, they should be.

I can’t imagine anyone using CDs or paper.

We've been using paper and CDs. All suggestions to put stuff online have been rejected for 5 years in a row.

"What do we need a website for?" and "We really don't need that computer in the Clubhouse." are actually voiced on a regular basis in my HOA. It's not that everyone here is a Luddite. It's more of an age thing and no one wants to spend a dime on anything. Recordkeeping is atrocious.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/13/2020 3:37 PM  
Would probably agree that a public computer is unnecessary, unless it doubles as a protected server.

Gotta protect records and provide records ... $300 a year seems fair ...
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:562


03/13/2020 6:24 PM  
I agree with the first Mark that posted here. If it is a scanned document why not let them read it. I would also suggest (we have not done this yet) highlighting area most frequently missed by homeowners. Parking is always a problem in every HOA. Can't tell you how many people have told me that they have 5 kids all driving age and a 2 car driveway. Fighting them after the fact is always much harder. Better for the ones that care to read the rules to make an informed decision before they sign the closing papers.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3664


03/13/2020 7:16 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/13/2020 3:37 PM
Would probably agree that a public computer is unnecessary, unless it doubles as a protected server.

Gotta protect records and provide records ... $300 a year seems fair ...

That amount's reasonable, I think. The computer can be accessed by anyone who goes into the clubhouse, but the main reason we got it was to have a machine with sufficient software (it's not much) to do their job with the minutes, some of the corporate records, maintain a roster and a community directory, and a place from which to send out minutes and other reports to a distribution list of email addresses. We've had 4 Secretaries over the last 14 months and 3 of them don't have home computers.

There are several user accounts on the computer. The one usable by guests is restrictive with access only to some of our documents and the monthly meeting minutes. There's another account for use by the Secretary that can write to the area where the minutes are kept along with a few other documents. There's a strong password on that account. We convinced the board to pay for anti-virus software that we keep updated and run on a regular schedule. The biggest problem is that there's no backup for anything on the computer. We were unable to convince the board to pay for a relatively small amount of cloud space that could be used to fully back up the hard drive (SSD actually) every 3 months. Absolutely no one understands the need for reliable backups. That drives me crazy because it's only a matter of time until those backups are needed to recover from some sort of data-destroying event, and when that day comes there will be no backups stored anywhere. That borders on misfeasance where I come from. But they (several boards over 3 years) don't think it's necessary and I don't knock myself out trying to make it really useful.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3664


03/13/2020 7:16 PM  
".... for the Secretaries to do their job ..."
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/13/2020 8:16 PM  
Sigh.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:233


03/14/2020 3:03 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 03/13/2020 7:16 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 03/13/2020 3:37 PM
Would probably agree that a public computer is unnecessary, unless it doubles as a protected server.

Gotta protect records and provide records ... $300 a year seems fair ...

That amount's reasonable, I think. The computer can be accessed by anyone who goes into the clubhouse, but the main reason we got it was to have a machine with sufficient software (it's not much) to do their job with the minutes, some of the corporate records, maintain a roster and a community directory, and a place from which to send out minutes and other reports to a distribution list of email addresses. We've had 4 Secretaries over the last 14 months and 3 of them don't have home computers.

There are several user accounts on the computer. The one usable by guests is restrictive with access only to some of our documents and the monthly meeting minutes. There's another account for use by the Secretary that can write to the area where the minutes are kept along with a few other documents. There's a strong password on that account. We convinced the board to pay for anti-virus software that we keep updated and run on a regular schedule. The biggest problem is that there's no backup for anything on the computer. We were unable to convince the board to pay for a relatively small amount of cloud space that could be used to fully back up the hard drive (SSD actually) every 3 months. Absolutely no one understands the need for reliable backups. That drives me crazy because it's only a matter of time until those backups are needed to recover from some sort of data-destroying event, and when that day comes there will be no backups stored anywhere. That borders on misfeasance where I come from. But they (several boards over 3 years) don't think it's necessary and I don't knock myself out trying to make it really useful.




The amount of data you are describing is such a small amount that you don't need to spend money on a backup solution. Google offers 15GB of data for free. If you don't have an account just create one. They provide instructions on how to set it up:

https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2424384?hl=en&ref_topic=14940
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2299


03/14/2020 4:38 PM  
The $300 a year is the range for a website that archives, is a great tool for advertising the community, and providing access and notification.
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