Homeowner Association Records

Homeowner Association Records

150521-spreadsheet-pencil-mechanical-eraser.jpgOne of the first things that happens when a homeowner has an issue with the management of an HOA and the actions of the board of directors is a records request. Therefore it is important for homeowners and boards to know what records are required to be kept and what records should be provided to a homeowner.

N.C. Gen. Stat. §55A-16-01 provides for the records required for any North Carolina non-profit corporation, including most homeowner associations. In addition, N.C. Gen. Stat. §47F-3-118 specifically governs the records for HOAs in planned communities. Under these statutes, the HOA should maintain the following:

  1. The minutes should be of all meetings, both of the membership and the board of directors. The proper form of minutes should just be the actions taken by the group, not the discussion surrounding each vote or action. The past three years of the membership meetings should be kept in the principal office of the HOA and are subject to inspection on five days written notice by the homeowner. The remaining minutes are subject to inspection on five days written notice and where the homeowner’s request is made in good faith and for a proper purpose, are described with reasonable particularity, and the records requested are directly connected with the proper purpose.
  2. Actions without a Meeting. Records of the past three years of the actions taken without a meeting should be kept in the principal office of the HOA and are subject to inspection on five days written notice by the homeowner. The remaining actions without a meeting are subject to inspection on five days written notice and where the homeowner’s request is made in good faith and for a proper purpose, are described with reasonable particularity, and the records requested are directly connected with the proper purpose.
  3. Committee Actions. A record of all actions taken by a committee that where that committee is operating as the decision maker in place of the board of directors (not where it is merely advisory). The past three years of the committee meeting records should be kept in the principal office of the HOA and are subject to inspection on five days written notice by the homeowner. The remaining committee records are subject to inspection on five days written notice and where the homeowner’s request is made in good faith and for a proper purpose, are described with reasonable particularity, and the records requested are directly connected with the proper purpose.
  4. Appropriate Accounting Records. These are subject to on five days written notice and where the homeowner’s request is made in good faith and for a proper purpose, are described with reasonable particularity, and the records requested are directly connected with the proper purpose. These records should include (if not stated otherwise in the bylaws) cash receipts and expenditures and all assets and liabilities.
  5. Income and Expense Statement and Balance Sheets. These should be made available to all lot owners within 75 days after the close of the fiscal year.
  6. Membership List. The HOA should maintain a record of all members including names and addresses in alphabetical order and the number of votes each member is entitled to cast. The list is subject to inspection by any member on five days written notice and where the homeowner’s request is made in good faith and for a proper purpose, are described with reasonable particularity, and the records requested are directly connected with the proper purpose. The membership list cannot be used to solicit money or property, any commercial purpose, or sold to or purchased by any person. It is specifically allowable to use the membership list to solicit votes of the members for an election.
  7. Unpaid Assessments. The HOA should maintain the amount of unpaid assessments and other charges against the lots in the planned community. Any lot owner may obtain a record of these charges against his lot with 10 days written notice. The lot owner has no right to the information on who other delinquent owners may be and their amount of unpaid assessments.
  8. Articles of Incorporation of the HOA. These should be kept at the principal office of the HOA and are subject to inspection with 5 days written notice from the homeowner.
  9. Bylaws of the HOA. These should be kept at the principal office of the HOA and are subject to inspection with 5 days written notice from the homeowner.
  10. Resolutions regarding Directors. Ch. 55A requires the retention of resolutions relating to the number or classification of directors or the characteristics of members. Since these types of rules for an HOA are contained in its bylaws and declarations, this provision normally would not apply for a planned community.
  11. Director List. A list of names and contact information for the current directors and officers should be maintained. These should be kept at the principal office of the HOA and are subject to inspection with 5 days written notice from the homeowner.

In addition to the statutes, the HOAs bylaws may require additional records be kept and available to homeowners, such as an annual audit. Finally, if any issue with the HOA results in the filing of a civil complaint, the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure would allow additional document production within the confines of the lawsuit.

-Bradley A. Coxe is a practicing attorney in Wilmington, NC who practices in Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Contract and Real Estate disputes, and all forms of Civil Litigation.  Please contact him at (910) 772-1678.