Whether you want copies of financial records, work and repair records, reported hazards, or Bylaws and Declarations of Condominiums, there is a “normal way” and a “best way”.
Below is the Official Records section of Florida statute 718 which lists the types of documents that Golden Lakes residents are absolutely entitled too if requested the right way – in writing – sent by certified mail, and a few other steps.
This is worth printing and keeping handy. The methods outlined by the state are the only very serious formal request type that leads to large penalties and other results to the association if the documents you seek are not accessible within days. Avoid these methods and you may not have access to the records you seek for months or more.
From Statute 718 regulating condominiums:
(12) OFFICIAL RECORDS.—
(a) From the inception of the association, the association shall maintain each of the following items, if applicable, which constitutes 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 the bylaws.
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, which minutes must be retained for at least 7 years.
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 electronic mailing addresses and facsimile numbers of unit owners consenting to receive notice by electronic transmission. The electronic mailing addresses and facsimile numbers are not accessible to unit owners if consent to receive notice by electronic transmission is not provided in accordance with subparagraph (c)5. However, the association is not liable for an inadvertent disclosure of the electronic mail address or facsimile number for receiving electronic transmission of notices.
8. All current insurance policies of the association and condominiums operated by the association.
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. All accounting records must be maintained for at least 7 years. 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.
12. Ballots, sign-in sheets, voting proxies, and all other papers relating to voting by unit owners, which must be maintained for 1 year from the date of the election, vote, or meeting to which the document relates, notwithstanding paragraph (b).
13. All rental records if the association is acting as agent for the rental of condominium units.
14. A copy of the current question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504.
15. All other records of the association not specifically included in the foregoing which are related to the operation of the association.
16. A copy of the inspection report as described in s. 718.301(4)(p).
(b) The official records of the association must be maintained within the state for at least 7 years. The records of the association shall be made available to a unit owner within 45 miles of the condominium property or within the county in which the condominium property is located within 5 working days after receipt of a written request by the board or its designee. However, such distance requirement does not apply to an association governing a timeshare condominium. This paragraph may be complied with by having a copy of the official records of the association available for inspection or copying on the condominium property or association property, or the association may offer the option of making the records available to a unit owner electronically via the Internet or by allowing the records to be viewed in electronic format on a computer screen and printed upon request. The association is not responsible for the use or misuse of the information provided to an association member or his or her authorized representative pursuant to the compliance requirements of this chapter unless the association has an affirmative duty not to disclose such information pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The official records of the association are open to inspection by any association member or the authorized representative of such member at all reasonable times. The right to inspect the records includes the right to make or obtain copies, at the reasonable expense, if any, of the member. The association may adopt reasonable rules regarding the frequency, time, location, notice, and manner of record inspections and copying. The failure of an association to provide the records within 10 working days after receipt of a written request creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this paragraph.
A unit owner who is denied access to official records is entitled to the actual damages or minimum damages for the association’s willful failure to comply. Minimum damages are $50 per calendar day for up to 10 days, beginning on the 11th working day after receipt of the written request. The failure to permit inspection entitles any person prevailing in an enforcement action to recover reasonable attorney fees from the person in control of the records who, directly or indirectly, knowingly denied access to the records. Any person who knowingly or intentionally defaces or destroys accounting records that are required by this chapter to be maintained during the period for which such records are required to be maintained, or who knowingly or intentionally fails to create or maintain accounting records that are required to be created or maintained, 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 association shall maintain an adequate number of copies of the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules, and all amendments to each of the foregoing, as well as the question and answer sheet as described in s. 718.504 and year-end financial information required under this section, on the condominium property to ensure their availability to unit owners and prospective purchasers, and may charge its actual costs for preparing and furnishing these documents to those requesting the documents. An association shall allow a member or his or her authorized representative to use a portable device, including a smartphone, tablet, portable scanner, or any other technology capable of scanning or taking photographs, to make an electronic copy of the official records…