Page 17 - New England Condominium July 2019
P. 17

NEWENGLANDCONDO.COM  NEW ENGLAND CONDOMINIUM   -JULY 2019     17  185 Devonshire Street, Suite 401, Boston, MA 02110  Quality Representation at Reasonable Rates.  (617) 988-0633  Contact Attorney Frank Flynn:  FRANK@FLYNNLAW-NE.COM  Flynn_E4C.qxp:Layout 1  12/8/14  2:30 PM  Page 1  able for the reasonable inspection by a unit-  owner during regular business hours, and at   such other times as may be provided by the  form that permits preparation of a list of the   property manager. Access to said records in-  cludes the right to photocopy the records at  at which the association communicates with   the unit owner’s expense. The records should  them, in alphabetical order and showing the   be retained for a period of at least seven years.”  Finally,  says  Gaines,  “the  Massachusetts  to cast;   Condominium Act is silent as to consequenc-  es if a board fails to provide access to these  ganizational documents and bylaws and all   records. While legislation has been filed in  amendments to them and all rules currently   the past to add some teeth to the statute in the  in effect;   event a board refuses to provide access, that   legislation did not pass.”  Joseph G. Carleton, Jr., Of Counsel with   Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry in Portland,   Maine  “Maine  has  extensive  disclosure  require-  ments benefiting unit owners, taken from  to the Secretary of State;   the Uniform Common Interest Ownership   Act and incorporated into Maine law,” says  detailed to enable the association to comply   Carleton. “I think it’s fair to say that the broad  with section 1604-108;   reach of this law has made boards and man-  agers uncomfortable at times. I think that  is a party;   simply quoting the statute will answer most   people’s questions.  “According to  §1603-118  of  the  Maine  for design or architectural approval from unit   Condominium Act on Association Records,  owners; and   an association must retain the following:   1. Records of receipts and expenditures  lated to voting by unit owners for one year   affecting the operation and administration  after the election, action or vote to which they   of the association and other appropriate ac-  counting records for the past 6 years;   2. Minutes of all meetings of its unit own-  ers and executive board other than executive  an association must be available for examina-  sessions, a record of all actions taken by the  tion and copying by a unit owner or the unit   unit owners or executive board without a  owner’s authorized agent  during reasonable   meeting and a record of all actions taken by a  business hours or at a mutually convenient   committee in place of the executive board on  time and location; and upon 10 days’ notice   behalf of the association;   3. The names of current unit owners in a   names of all unit owners and the addresses   number of votes each unit owner is entitled   4. Copies of its original or restated or-  5. All financial statements and tax returns   of the association for the past 3 years;   6. A list of the names and addresses of its   current executive board members and offi-  cers; \[2011, c. 368, §8 (NEW).\]  7. Its most recent annual report delivered   8. Financial and other records sufficiently   9. Copies of current contracts to which it   10. Records of executive board or commit-  tee actions to approve or deny any requests   11. Ballots, proxies and other records re-  relate.   Carleton goes on to say that “(b) Subject to   subsections (c) and (d), all records retained by   in writing reasonably identifying the specific   records of the association requested. Records   retained by an association may be   withheld   from inspection and copying to the extent   that they concern:   1. Personnel, salary and medical records   relating to specific individuals;   2. Contracts, leases and other commercial   transactions to purchase or provide goods or   services currently being negotiated;   3. Existing or potential litigation or media-  tion, arbitration or administrative proceed-  ings;   4. Existing or potential matters involving   federal, state or local administrative or other   formal proceedings before  a governmental   tribunal for enforcement of the declaration,   bylaws or rules;   5. Communications with the association’s   attorney that are otherwise protected by the   attorney-client privilege or the attorney work-  product doctrine;   6. Information  the disclosure  of which   would violate law other than this Act;   7. Records of an executive session of the   executive board; or   8. Individual unit files other than those of   the requesting unit owner.   “An association may charge a reasonable   fee for providing copies of any records under   this section and for supervising the unit own-  er’s inspection,” Carleton continues. “A ‘right   to copy records’ under this section includes   the right to receive copies by photocopying   or other means, including copies through an   electronic transmission if available upon re-  quest by the unit owner.   “An association is not obligated to com-  pile or synthesize information, and informa-  tion provided pursuant to this section may   not be used for commercial purposes or any   other purpose not reasonably related to the   management of the association or the duties,   rights or responsibilities of unit owners, offi-  cers or executive board members under this   Act or the association’s governing documents.   “The Maine Nonprofit Corporation Act,   Title 13-B,” Carleton adds, “also provides for   penalties in case of failure to provide records,   but the application of this requirement to the   above requirements of the Maine Condomin-  ium Act is uncertain.”  The takeaway from these various experts is   – whether you live in a co-op, condo, or HOA   – know your own rights, as well as the rights   of the residents you govern when it comes to   accessing documents and information about   your community. Keeping things transparent   not only keeps you on the right side of the law,   but also fosters faith in and respect for all the   work the board does to keep the building or   association running smoothly.                           n  Mike Odenthal is a staff writer/reporter for   New England Condominium.

   15   16   17   18   19