QUESTION: I made an appointment to see the minutes of my condo association's board meeting that I was not able to attend and that resulted in some changes that I'm not happy about. I wanted to take a quick picture of the minutes with my Smartphone but the person in the office said I would have to pay for copies. Who makes the rules about this and what are they?
ANSWER: The board may adopt reasonable written rules governing the frequency, time, location, notice required and manner of inspecting the official records of the association but their actions are guided by Florida statute. Official records include the minutes of board meetings.
A condominium must respond to a request for records within five business days and failure to provide access within 10 business days after the receipt of a written request creates a legal presumption that the association willfully failed to comply. A member who is denied access to the official records is entitled to actual damages or minimum damages of $50 per day up to 10 days.
The records must be available for inspection or copying within 45 miles of the association property or may be provided electronically. The association may charge the actual cost of copying.
As of July 1, 2013, Florida Statute Section 718.111(12)(c) changed and now an association shall allow a member or his/her authorized representative to use a portable device, such as a Smartphone, tablet, portable scanner or other technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an electronic copy of official records in lieu of the association providing a copy of such records. The association may not charge a member or his/her authorized representative for the use of a portable device.
Another official record is the roster of unit owners and there had been a hesitancy to publish resident directories in recent years because previous statutes prohibited sharing certain information. As of July 1, 2013, an association may print and distribute to parcel owners a directory containing the name, address and telephone number of each parcel owner. However, an owner may exclude his or her telephone number from the directory by so requesting in writing to the association. All the unit owners should be told of the intent to publish a directory in advance so that they are aware of the requirement for a written notice that indicates they do not want their telephone number published.
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 no 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.