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SB 1196 Changes Condo/HOA Official Records and Record Inspection Rights

Community association leaders and managers should become aware of changes to record inspection obligations now that SB 1196 has been signed into law.

Roster List (Condo):

The roster list is an important document.  Telephone numbers have traditionally been included in the roster list, despite objections over the years.  The roster list also includes email addresses of the members if they have consented (or requested) to receive notices and other association information by email.  SB 1196 says that the email addresses and telephone numbers of the members must be removed from the association’s records if the owner revokes consent to receive notice by electronic transmission.  Please discuss modifications to the roster or creating a procedure for owner consent to include this information with association counsel, as many owners have come to rely upon the roster or directory to remain in contact with friends and neighbors.

Civil Penalties (Condo):

Last year the act was amended to authorize civil penalties against anyone (individuals – i.e. board members, manager, etc.) that knowingly or intentionally defaced or destroyed accounting records.  It also authorized civil penalties for knowingly or intentionally failing to create or maintain the accounting records.  SB 1196 now limits the civil penalties to the time period the records are required to be maintained.  Penalties are likewise not appropriate for failing to create or maintain these records unless there is a finding of intent to harm the association or one or more of its members.

Misuse of Information (Condo):

We know the association cannot publish debtor lists or use the delinquency records to embarrass or harass its members, but the board (or management) has little to no control over what happens to records once they are in the possession of a unit owner.  SB 1196 says the association is not responsible for misuse of records properly obtained in connection with an owner’s rights to inspect and copy.

Personnel Records (Condo & HOA):

Personnel records for association employees such as payroll, disciplinary actions, health and insurance records are no longer accessible to members.  I know a few managers that are happy with this change.

Owner Information (Condo & HOA):

Private information such as email addresses, telephone numbers, emergency contact information, social security numbers, driver’s license and credit card numbers of the owners are not accessible to members.

Condo and HOA owners are not entitled to obtain the association’s passwords, electronic security records, software or operating systems that manipulate data.

Presumption (HOA):

In HOAs the presumption that the association willfully failed to make records available if the records were not available within 10 business days only arises if the request was sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Inspection Costs (HOA):

If the association does not have a copy machine at the record site, or the owner requests more than 25 pages of records, copies may be made by an outside vendor or management company personnel – in that case the association may charge for the actual costs of the copies and hourly charges for vendor or employee time to cover the administrative costs to the vendor or the association.

You may need to change your association’s record retention and/or inspection policies in light of these changes.

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  • Charleen Gorbet, FL
    June 6, 2010

    Two questions:
    1) If the condo assn has a management company, is the Board (as “the Association”) considered to have access to the owner contact information as well as the management company, or is the Board lumped in with “all owners”, to be denied access to phone and e-mail contact info unless there is specific consent by the owner?
    2) Our Assn currently posts owner name, unit, second address, phone, e-mail and emergency contact on a website accessible to owners and password-protected. The Board uses this list to e-mail or mail regular newsletters and other important information. The list was originally compiled and is updated through personal contact with each owner, but there is no signed consent form. Do we now need to have signatures?
    This list often is more up to date than the management company’s, since it is proactively collected by the Board rather than waiting for the owner to remember to give it. The emergency contact info is part of our Disaster Preparedness Plan and has been used several times when an elderly owner has health or safety issues.
    Comment: I think it’s wrong to class basic contact info with the serious personal info such as bank, SS and credit card numbers, driver’s license etc. It’s very hard to forge a community if you can’t even contact people except by knocking on their door or mailing a letter.
    Charleen Gorbet, Sarasota

  • Harvey E. Morse
    June 6, 2010

    With regard to the new law:
    1. Our HOA has been charging $25 per hour for record inspection and copying this past year, in addition to the cost of using the HOA office copier. Could it have lawfully done that prior to the passage of SB 1196? If not, would refunds be in order?
    2. The issue of email addresses seems confusing: If the HOA has an email list that it uses to send info to members, and an owner requests a copy of that list to send info to owners from another perspective, if no one has opted out, may the owner request a copy of the email list and be entitled to it?
    In another place, it says that email addresses are not to be made available. Is that different from the above meaning that an owner cannot request a “specific” person’s email address, but is entitled to the main list if no one has opted out?

  • Hampden Smith
    June 6, 2010

    The (CONDO/HOA) designations are most helpful. Do they indicate that none of the changes listed also involve cooperatives? I’m in a co-op and find it difficult to track which items also relate to co-ops.

  • Martine Wooley
    June 7, 2010

    Are any of the SB 1196 changes applicable to cooperatives?
    RESPONSE: There are few provisions, the elevator upgrade and fire sprinkler provisions, which do not impact you. Here’s the section likely to impact your community:
    Cooperative Associations–Collections/Foreclosures
    The claim of lien may include late fees and reasonable costs for services for which the association has contracted.
    Revises requirements for 30-day intent to lien letter.
    Provides that if a unit is occupied by a tenant and that unit owner is delinquent in the payment of any monetary obligation to the association, the association may demand that the tenant pay to the association the future monetary obligations related to the condominium unit.
    Requires the association to mail written notice to the unit owner of the association’s demand that the tenant make payments to the association.
    Provides that the liability of the tenant may not exceed the amount due from the tenant to the tenant’s landlord. Provides that the tenant’s landlord shall provide the tenant a credit against rents due to the unit owner in the amount of monies paid to the association.
    Provides that the association may sue for eviction as if the association were a landlord if the tenant fails to pay a required assessment to the association.

  • carl barta
    June 11, 2010

    @ Harvey Morse.
    Your association cannot charge for inspecting the records even under the new law. They only can charge you the wage costs if they actually have to pay someone to go to let’s say Kinkos and make the copies there.
    RESPONSE: The new HOA statute (remember, the charges for staff time are only HOA, not Condo or Coop) says the association can pass on the cost associated with making the copies. The association can charge the actual copy cost (no longer designate an amount per page) and “reasonable costs involving personnel fees and charges at an hourly for vendor or employee time” for making the copies. Not the model of clarity, but this is likely to be interpreted as “employee time” for a vendor if there results in an additional charge to the association.

  • Andres
    June 30, 2010

    Purchased a lot in May of 2007 in a subdivision that requires construction within 12 months of purchase. Because of economic conditions I’ve been granted 2 twelve month extensions. Just requested my third 12 month extension and it looks like an uphill struggle to obtain approval. HOA will start assessing fees. What are my options?

  • Navin Singh
    July 3, 2010

    My lease is up in september, and i am now required to pay my rent to the assosiation. My landlord is so behind on payment, the assosiation told me that i will be paying for a while. My question is how do i go about getting my security deposit back from my landlord? Thank you.

  • mirtha j echevarria
    July 8, 2010

    Because of been very late(5 month) in your Cond. Ass. fees… the Cond. Association has the right to block your entrance in to the building in where you own an appartament?
    I would really appreciate your answer ASAP
    Thank you very much

  • Rafael Uribe
    July 14, 2010

    I don’t pay my condo association fees for more than a year, the condo ass. were harrasing my tenant for a long time,
    they treatened him with eviction, tried to collect the rent from him, deactivated his card so he wont be able to get into the complex, cut the water to his apt, towed away his car. Can the hoa do this legaly if not what can I do about it?
    thank you

  • Bonnie Scarborough
    October 14, 2010

    I am also confused by the difference between the roster list and the owner information as stated by Harvey Morse. It seems our association could use this so members can not contact one another any more. Can we still get a community roster list if not opted out?
    RESPONSE: The roster list now excludes any contact information that is not the official mailing/contact information for association notices.

  • Michelle Schrier
    October 15, 2010

    Regarding record inspection , we are in a legal battle with our hoa and our attorney has requested documents including meeting minutes, records of my account , among other things. In past inspections of the documents from other members (the documents are in a storage unit w/ a copier) the member was bullied and video taped against her wishes and wasnt given any direction as to where anything was located – just boxes to search through.
    Knowing this , my attorney has requested to join me during the inspection to make sure my rights are not violated – and to make sure we get the information we have requested.
    The counsel for he association has said absolutely not – legal counsel can not be present with homeowner. The governing documents state ” homeonwer and homeowners agent” can attend inspection.
    Our inspection had to be cancelled due to the conflict.
    What is your interpretation of the rule about counsel being present at record inspection?
    Lastly, if there is a copier present , do they have the right to not give me more then 25 copies at the time of inspection and “order” and outside firm to make copies and charge me fees?
    I offered to bring my own personal copier so to avoid the .50 cents per copy fee (and considering it is a storage unit would be no big deal ) and they said absolutely not. they want my money.
    RESPONSE: This is a common misconception. The statute says “members or their authorized agents”, not ‘and’ authorized agents.

  • Michelle Schrier
    October 16, 2010

    is my attorney allowed to attend records inspection with me as my “authorized agent”? we are in a legal battle with the HOA and we have requested documents. the board, instead of sending the docs says “come find them”. My attorney planned on attending since we’ve heard of horror stories of bullying at past inspections, and the association denied my access to the records with my attorney present.
    Id like to know your interpretation of ” member and her agent” have the right to inspect records.

  • Maria
    October 30, 2010

    Our Board, specifically the CAM refuses to post a list of telephone numbers or e-mail addresses for the Board Members, is this legal? We are told to call the CAM however, he is selective as to whose calls he answers. The Management Company is renting space in someone elses office and it is very hard to get anyone on the phone.
    RESPONSE: 2010 changes to the statutes do protect the email addresses, telephone numbers and other contact information of the members. This information is not subject to inspection unless the owner (any owner) submits that information for the purposes of official mailings or consents to release of the information.

  • roy w lenard
    November 16, 2010

    Does 1196 prevent the home owner from obtaining staff salaries or does it mean can not inspect official records.
    The salaries are shown in lump sum in the budget.
    Thank you
    RESPONSE: The homeowner cannot review (inspect) any personnel records- that includes individual payroll records. The expenses associated with all staff (lump sum) must be reflected in the budget, otherwise the association wouldn’t collect enough money for its operations.

  • roy w lenard
    November 17, 2010

    Thank you for your response.
    My question should have been asked in a more specific way.
    Under 718 does 1196 allow the Board to deny an owner from obtaining the the specific gross salary of each individual employed by the association or is it referring to the inspection of salary records.
    Thank You again in advance of your response.
    RESPONSE: Payroll, including individual salary records, are not available for member inspection.

  • JoanneGrant
    November 20, 2010

    Is there a legal opinion,rule or regulation that protects the president from allowing arguements from the floor at monthly meetings.He says every owner can speek;so the meeting is nothing but holloring,attacking and fighting.2-3 owners have started this as a movement to remove the boad.Can the Preident,under what regulation,refuse to recognize the floor.Most owners walk out or refuse to attend these meetings.Help
    RESPONSE: The board can adopt rules regulating owner participation at meetings. If the meetings are completely unruly, limiting owner comment to as designated time on the agenda may help. Hiring an off-duty police officer is also an option.

  • Deborah
    January 18, 2011

    Can the homeowners association request a copy of your Social Security card and drivers License? Is this a normal Process? Why are the numbers alone not enough?
    RESPONSE: Every HOA is different but it is not unusual for an association to request this information in connection with the transfer approval procedures.

  • Marv Fralish
    January 18, 2011

    What is or was the rational behind 1196 restricted owner information such as phone numbers and email addresses from being included in an owner roster. This restriction is even being used by the Board of Director to restrict an owner’s access to contacting them. Is it possible for the association to produce a roster of these items if the owners agree to including the information? Thanks
    RESPONSE: Owners around the state attended meetings held by various committees. Distributing “private” information was one of the prevalent complaints. Many associations have abandoned directories as a result of the new law, while others have collected individual waivers from the unit owners.

  • Marv Fralish
    January 18, 2011

    What is or was the rational behind 1196 restricted owner information such as phone numbers and email addresses from being included in an owner roster. This restriction is even being used by the Board of Director to restrict an owner’s access to contacting them. Is it possible for the association to produce a roster of these items if the owners agree to including the information? Thanks
    RESPONSE: Owners around the state attended meetings held by various committees. Distributing “private” information was one of the prevalent complaints. Many associations have abandoned directories as a result of the new law, while others have collected individual waivers from the unit owners.

  • lisa
    January 21, 2011

    As the former Treasuer I created a report of gross rental income by unit. The President and VP of the Association said that was a privacy issue. I did not have names associated with the report, just unit numbers. Is there a problem with the legality of the report?
    RESPONSE: It is appropriate to create this type of report for any association-owned units. If the association is collecting rent from tenants owners to satisfy delinquencies then that information should be available for inspection upon written request.

  • Mary Ann Sorrentino
    March 29, 2011

    Does the new law prohibiting “owners” from access to personnel files/payroll info except Board Members and Officers…We need to have access to these records to make budget recommendations regarding raises, hirings etc.
    Please clarify. Thank you
    RESPONSE: The 2010 changes to the condominium act prohibit the association from releasing personnel records to members. Board members must have this information in order to create the budget, make hiring and salary decisions and the like.

  • David
    April 19, 2011

    I have a President unilaterally made the decision that the BOD reserves the right to search any members personal items (bag, briefcase, purse etc) during the inspection of any HOA record(s). We still have a Constitution, right?
    Is it time for an Attorney?
    Thank you for your responce.
    RESPONSE: I would ask for a copy of the written policy or any guidelines that have been established. There may have been a misunderstanding or one specific indicident was taken out of context. Of course, any owner may seek legal advice regarding his or her rights and responsibilities pursuant to the governing documents and applicable law.

  • Patricia Viruet
    February 17, 2013

    you answered sort of my question cause I have a homeowner who did get access to my time cards and knows the salary im being paid and how many sick days vacation time, overtime. Did the HOA or mgmt violated my rights what do I do next do they have a right to answer him to these questions? He constantly shows up to see if were on duty etc.. is this harassment? what should I do?

  • ana
    July 22, 2015

    I asked for the monthly HOA Financials……..so far , they have not provided them to me . are they required to do so. upon my request?