HOAs and community managers receive requests for records and information almost daily. In this day where an HOA’s management team has limited resources, especially time, records and information requests need to be treated appropriately and efficiently. What is an Arizona HOA’s responsibility to respond to requests for records and information from its homeowners?
HOA document requests are governed by A.R.S. § 33-1805 (planned communities) and A.R.S. § 33-1258 (condominium associations), which identically provide:
Except as provided in subsection B of this section, all financial and other records of the association shall be made reasonably available for examination by any member or any person designated by the member in writing as the member’s representative. The association shall not charge a member or any person designated by the member in writing for making material available for review. The association shall have ten business days to fulfill a request for examination. On request for purchase of copies of records by any member or any person designated by the member in writing as the member’s representative, the association shall have ten business days to provide copies of the requested records. An association may charge a fee for making copies of not more than fifteen cents per page.
Subsection B sets forth categories of records that may be withheld from homeowners, including privileged communications between an attorney for the association and the association, executive meeting minutes, and individual member or employee records. Additionally, the Arizona Non-profit Corporation Act, specifically § 10-11605, prohibits HOAs from disseminating membership lists for commercial purposes.
In short, HOAs have the duty under Arizona statutes to make records available for inspection or copying to homeowners in ten business days. The threshold question becomes: Is this a document request by a homeowner or their written designated representative? Although it seems almost elementary, managers should verify that a homeowner or his or her designated representative is making the request. A vendor may, for instance, impersonate a homeowner to obtain a contract and information regarding the vendor’s competitor.
Another issue is whether the homeowner or designated representative is asking for records or just information. Although HOAs have the duty to respond to records requests, HOAs do not have the duty to respond to unlimited and ongoing questions and demands for information, meaning HOAs and community managers do not have to perform calculations or provide opinions to homeowners. HOAs and community managers should act with as much transparency as possible, but within reason.
HOAs and community managers should understand the scope of what records homeowners are entitled to see and set expectations, so that records requests are handled smoothly. If your HOA needs assistance in responding to a records request or developing a records policy that comports with Arizona statutes, please do not hesitate to contact us.