Question: I have lived in my condo for several years and have never had a problem with the board. I recently heard that we are going to have a large special assessment to repair the roof. Where did our monthly fees go? Do I have a right to see the records, like the tax return?
Answer: There are several things coming into play in your question. The first is the annual budget and financial report. This is usually distributed before the annual meeting so that the new budget can be accepted. If you haven't been receiving this, something is amiss. If you have received it but haven't looked at it, take a good look now. If you have discarded the budget and annual financial report, ask for another copy. You have a right to this. This should indicate whether money has been put aside for the roof in a reserve account. It is possible that the association members have voted to waive all or some of the reserve and this would account for the special assessment.
The other records are a little more complicated. According to Florida condominium statutes, the official records of the association are open to inspection by any member of the association at reasonable times, subject to reasonable rules which the association may adopt. The right to inspect includes the right to make or obtain copies at the reasonable expense, if any, of the member.
The official records of the association include accounting records for the association. The statute also contains a "catch all" provision which states that "all other records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association" are official records of the association.
This means that the tax returns filed by the association are part of the official records of the association and you have the right to see them and copy them.
You do not have a right to inspect a record that relates to personnel matters such as health records but that isn't really your concern now.
The simplest first step is to ask a board member or a representative of the management company to explain the situation to you. If things really are amiss, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney who can inquire on your behalf.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., in Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.