Article Courtesy of The Coastal Breeze News
By William G. Morris, Esq.
Published March 28, 2021
Florida’s Condominium Act goes a long way to ensure
transparency in governance and operation of a condominium association. The
earliest version of the Act required associations maintain accounting records in
accordance with good accounting practices. Associations were not only required
to “balance the books,” but also to keep copies of invoices, receipts and
similar documents. Associations were also required to keep a good accounting for
each unit owner. Over the years, the legislature added to the record keeping
requirements, most of which are found in Section 111 of the Act.
Associations are now required to maintain each of the following items, if
applicable, which constitute the official records of the association:
1.A copy of the plans, permits, warranties, and other items provided by the
developer pursuant to s. 718.301(4).
2.A photocopy of the recorded declaration of condominium of each condominium
operated by the association and each amendment to each declaration.
3.A photocopy of the recorded bylaws of the association and each amendment to
4.A certified copy of the articles of incorporation of the association, or other
documents creating the association, and each amendment thereto.
5.A copy of the current rules of the association.
6.A book or books that contain the minutes of all meetings of the association,
the board of administration, and the unit owners.
7.A current roster of all unit owners and their mailing addresses, unit
identifications, voting certifications, and, if known, telephone numbers. The
association shall also maintain the e-mail addresses and facsimile numbers of
unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The e-mail
addresses and facsimile numbers are not accessible to unit owners if consent to
receive notice by electronic transmission is not provided in accordance with
sub-subparagraph (c)3.e. However, the association is not liable for an
inadvertent disclosure of the e-mail address or facsimile number for receiving
electronic transmission of notices.
8.All current insurance policies of the association and condominiums operated by
9.A current copy of any management agreement, lease, or other contract to which
the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners
have an obligation or responsibility.
10.Bills of sale or transfer for all property owned by the association.
11.Accounting records for the association and separate accounting records for
each condominium that the association operates. Any person who knowingly or
intentionally defaces or destroys such records, or who knowingly or
intentionally fails to create or maintain such records, with the intent of
causing harm to the association or one or more of its members, is personally
subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d).
The accounting records must include, but are not limited to:
a. Accurate, itemized, and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures.
b. A current account and a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly statement of the
account for each unit designating the name of the unit owner, the due date and
amount of each assessment, the amount paid on the account, and the balance due.
c. All audits, reviews, accounting statements, and financial reports of the
association or condominium.
d. All contracts for work to be performed. Bids for work to be performed are
also considered official records and must be maintained by the association.
1.Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers and electronic
records relating to voting by unit owners, which must be maintained for one year
from the date of the election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates,
notwithstanding paragraph (b).
2.All rental records if the association is acting as agent for the rental of
3.A copy of the current question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504.
4.All other written records of the association not specifically included in the
foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.
5.A copy of the inspection report as described in s. 718.301(4)(p).
6.Bids for materials, equipment, or services.
Items one through six, above, must be permanently maintained from inception of
the association, and all other records must be maintained for at least seven
years, unless otherwise provided by general law. The association must keep the
records in Florida and make them available for unit owner inspection within 45
miles of the condominium property or within the county in which the condominium
property is located. Right to inspect includes the right to make or obtain
copies. The association can charge reasonable cost for copies. An association
can adopt reasonable rules regarding frequency, time, location, notice and
manner of inspection and copying.
If the association fails to provide records within 10 working days after receipt
of a written request for inspection, a rebuttable presumption is created that
the association willfully failed to comply with the Act. A unit owner denied
access to official records is entitled to actual damages or a minimum of $50 per
calendar day for up to 10 days. If legal action is pursued to enforce inspection
rights, the prevailing party gets attorney’s fees to boot.
The Act does not require an association deliver records to unit owners, but only
make them available for inspection and copying. If a unit owner requests copies
via mail, the association is not required to comply. As of 2019, an association
with 150 units or more must maintain copies of specific portions of its official
records on a website to which unit owners have access.
The Act recognizes there should be limits to what records are available. An
owner is not entitled to review records protected by lawyer-client privilege or
work product created in connection with litigation or adversarial administrative
proceedings or which are prepared in anticipation of such dispute. Personnel
records, medical records of owners, social security numbers, driver’s license
numbers, credit card numbers, email addresses, telephone numbers, facsimile
numbers and addresses of the unit owner other than as provided to fulfill the
association’s notice requirements and other personal identifying information is
not accessible to owners. Electronic security measures used by the supposed new
safeguard data, including passwords, can also be kept from unit owners.
The Act not only require records be available. It requires an association
respond to a written inquiry from a unit owner sent by certified mail within 30
days after receipt of the inquiry. If the Board seeks advice from an attorney or
the Florida Division of Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes, the time for
response is extended to 10 days after receipt of the advice. If a legal opinion
is requested, the association must provide a substantive response to the inquiry
within 60 days after receiving the inquiry.
Condominium record inspection is often an area of friction. Some owners abuse
the privilege simply to harass the board. Some boards stonewall requests. Many
of these cases end up in litigation costing tens of thousands of dollars in
attorney’s fees to argue a dispute that would not have started if both sides
were reasonable. Nevertheless, Florida’s Condominium Act is an effort to make
sure unit owners know how their condominium is being managed.