While keeping the records of the association is not the most fascinating part of serving on a board, it is in some ways the most important. In fact, the flow of paperwork is the lifeblood of the community.
The association’s declaration, master deed and bylaws, and the co-op’s articles of incorporation and proprietary lease are the foundation of the business that is your typical co-op, condominium or homeowners’ association. The voluminous documents produced day to day are the records of its operation and the correspondence among the board, owners and management create the tenor of life within the community. Keeping documents and records tidy and communications responsible and transparent are key to running a functional and harmonious community.
The Letters of the Law
While the rules and regulations regarding producing and distributing the documents of the association are largely determined by the association itself in its declaration and bylaws, there are specific record keeping requirements spelled out in the Illinois Condominium Property Act, according to Patricia A. O’Connor, an attorney and a partner with the Chicago-based law firm Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC.
“Under Section 19 of the ICPA, the board must maintain; ‘the association’s declaration, bylaws and plats of survey, and all amendments of these; the rules and regulations of the association, if any; if the association is incorporated as a corporation, the articles of incorporation of the association and all amendments of incorporation; minutes of all meetings of the association and its board of managers for the immediately preceding seven years; all current policies of insurance of the association; all contracts, leases and other agreements then in effect to which the association is a party or under which the association or the unit owners have obligations or liabilities; a current listing of the names, addresses, and weighted vote of all members entitled to vote; ballots and proxies related to ballots for all matter voted on the members of the association during the immediately preceding 12 months, including but not limited to the board of managers; and the books and records of account for the association’s current and 10 immediately preceding fiscal years, including but not limited to itemized and detailed records of all receipts and expenditures,’” she says.
The Governing Documents
The most important document in the life of the condo community, subordinate only to U.S. and state laws, is the condominium declaration, or covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R) in the case of HOAs, written by the developer at its inception. The declaration contains a detailed breakdown of the property, including engineering sketches and each owner’s proportionate share of the property and portion of the monthly common expenses. It also describes the common areas of the complex.