Expect a ton of money to be poured into the pockets of Massachusetts legislators over the next week. What’s up? The State Senate has agreed to a ‘common sense’ bill to order condo associations to pay the legal costs of homeowners who have to sue to get financial records.
A homeowner has an absolute right to see the association’s financial documents, budgets and insurance policies. It’s basic common sense, especially for homeowners who are trying to sell their homes and move out. Mortgage companies require it. The current law mandates that those records be made available. But there’s no penalty for corporate deviants who decide they’re above such puerile requirements.
The current problem is that the bill is stalled. If the Massachusetts House doesn’t get off its collective rear end, or if a lobbyist in a legislative hallway waves a few thousand bucks around, this bill may fail due to official disinterest.
How CAI spokesperson, Frank Lombardi, can characterize complete and timely access to financial records requests as frivolous is beyond comprehension.
In FL, I have had first hand experience making records requests, only to have the manager and Board delay or deny access, or provide incomplete or out-of-date information (such as copies of expired insurance policies).
Florida has statute that requires records access within 10 days, for both condos and HOAs. If the HOA fails to comply within the time limit, the HOA must pay a $50/day fine up to 10 days ($500) to the owner. But the only way to enforce the statute is to file suit, which costs more than $500, and those costs are not recoverable. Besides, even filing a suit does not guarantee a court order will be issued to obtain the requested records!
Moral of the story, a statute that is unenfored in a practical manner is completely useless, and offers no protection for consumers.
Legislators in Massachusettes should enact this common sense law, and the state must be fully prepared to follow through with enforcement.
HOAs save the city money by having the owners in HOAs pay for streets, parks etc….yet, they are unwilling to help owners in HOAs with more statutes to protect owners and more penalties for mismanagement by hoa management companies and boards.
I was forced to file a lawsuit to see the records in my HOA. The board president suddenly died after refusing to let any homeowner see the records. The excuse was ALWAYS…they are all at the accountant’s office and we don’t allow homeowners to go to the accountant’s office to see them. Finally, the truth came out…they were not at the accountant’s office! After he died his successor declared under oath to the judge in the courtroom there were NO RECORDS! Even with the threat of perjury charges if records were found she declared there were no records. A year later she was caught with another board member and a former board member shredding records. The district attorney had been involved after the court case and so was a police department detective. The detective said he had been in those records just two months after the judge ordered them turned over to me. I spent thousands of dollars to see no records and that was seven years ago…to this day, I have never seen those records. What was discovered was TEN MILLION DOLLARS was unaccounted for and to this day that money is still unaccounted for. The property manager claims there was $500,000.00 in unpaid bills found after the president of 26 years suddenly died.
WARNING!!!!!!!! If your HOA refuses to allow you to see the records, lies to the judge under oath, and attempts to shred the records on the sly….you are probably dealing with a bunch of no good losers. Never hesitate to report these creeps to your local police and district attorney. Also, make every effort to educate your neighbors about what is going on with THEIR money. They might not listen but the day will come when the truth comes out and they will know you tried to warn them!
This is a perfect example why access to HOA records isn’t an option…it’s a MUST! Remember: People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing!
When I filed to see my association books and records I was saddled with a Vexatious Litigant label (I had filed 5 restraining orders against the board for harassment and physical violence)– the judge then did not allow me to see the records – but he granted the VL motion against me.