Request for Consultation
Information provided by Beth A. Grimm 2005

AB 1098, signed by the Governor October 4, effective beginning July 1, 2006. Here it is in a nutshell:

records Subject to Inspection and Copying: "Association Records" which include: Any financial document required to be provided to a member in Section 1365; any financial document or statement required to be provided in Section 1368; interim unaudited financial statements, periodic or as compiled, containing any of the following:(i) Balance sheet; (ii) income and expense statement, (iii) budget comparison; (iv) general ledger; (D) executed contracts not otherwise privileged under law; (E) written board approval of vendor or contractor proposals or invoices; (F) state and federal tax returns; (G) reserve account balances and records of payments made from reserve accounts; (H) agendas and minutes of meetings of the members, the board of directors and any committees appointed by the board of directors; (excluding agendas, minutes, and other information from executive sessions of the board of directors as described in Section 1363.05; and membership lists, including name, property address, and mailing address (although members can opt out of being included on a list provided to owners if the board adopts an alternative method of getting information to them). and
"Enhanced Association Records" which include: invoices, receipts and canceled checks for payments made by the association, purchase orders approved by the association, credit card statements for credit cards issued in the name of the association, statements for services rendered, and reimbursement requests submitted to the association, provided that the person submitting the reimbursement request shall be solely responsible for removing all personal identification information from the request.

Association records for the current fiscal yearwithin 10 days
Association records for prior two fiscal yearswithin 30 days

Other pertinent information:

The owner may designate another person to inspect and copy the records requested (must be in writing). The association may bill the requesting member for the direct and actual cost of copying requested documents. The association shall inform the member of the amount of the copying costs before copying the requested documents.

The association shall make the specified association records available for inspection and copying in the association's business office within the common interest development.

If the requesting member submits a written request directly to the association for copies of specifically identified records, the association may satisfy the requirement to make the association records available for inspection and copying by mailing copies of the specifically identified records to the member by first-class mail within timeframes above.

The association may have records redacted or withheld if inspection could lead to identity theft. the cost of redaction is limited to $10 per hour with a maximum that can be charged of $200.

A member of an association may bring an action to enforce the member's right to inspect and copy the association records. If a court finds that the association unreasonably withheld access to the association records, the court shall award the member reasonable costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees, and may assess a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for the denial of each separate written request. A cause of action under this section may be brought in small claims court if the amount of the demand does not exceed the jurisdiction of that court. A prevailing association may recover any costs if the court finds the action to be frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.

The provisions of this section apply to any community service organization or similar entity, as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 1368, that is related to the association, and this section shall operate to give a member of the community service organization or similar entity a right to inspect and copy the records of that organization or entity equivalent to that granted to association members by this section.

Requesting parties shall have the option of receiving specifically identified records by electronic transmission or machine-readable storage media as long as those records can be transmitted in a redacted format that does not allow the records to be altered. The cost of duplication shall be limited to the direct cost of producing the copy of a record in that electronic format.

By Beth A. Grimm, Attorney. A "service oriented" attorney and member of ECHO and CAI and various other industry organizations in California and nationally, host of the website www.californiacondoguru.com; two Blogs: California Condominium & HOA Law Blog, and Condolawguru.com Blog, and author of many helpful community association publications which can be found in the webstore on her site.