A reader writes: I want to see some association financial records because I think there is something funny going on with the landscaping expenses. The management company is telling me I can have them, but I need to pay for them! This is stupid, I already pay $230 a month to my association and that should cover these requests. How can they do this?

They can do this because California Civil Code 1362.5, which states what records homeowners are entitled to receive on request, provides that “The association may bill the requesting member for the direct and actual cost of copying and mailing requested documents. The association shall inform the member of the amount of the copying and mailing costs, and the member shall agree to pay those costs, before copying and sending the requested documents.”

I understand how you might feel that you have already paid for this service, but it really depends on the language in the contract between your association and their manager. Typically, in order to keep the monthly assessments low, that contract will not include those services in the monthly management fee but rather will have “user pay” provisions so that only those homeowners who ask for these documents pay the cost of reproducing and mailing them. Additionally, a homeowner could cause great financial harm to the association by asking for thousands of pages of documents; by charging for these documents, the association can help keep that under control.

That same portion of the Civil Code also provides ways that you can view (but not copy) the documents at no cost, so you might want to take a look and see if that option would be more palatable to you. There are also some limitations on what the association can charge you for redacting documents that may need to be redacted.

Articles are for advertising and general information by The Helsing Group, Inc. They are not intended to provide legal advice, but rather reflect our opinions as Community Association managers and Consultants. Readers should not act on issues raised in our newsletters or websites without consulting legal counsel.

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The Helsing Group, Inc.

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