When a new unit owner moves into a condo development, he or she usually receives a welcome packet that contains all the governing documents, such as the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, the bylaws and the house rules.
Before he or she signs a contract, the potential unit owner should not only read but understand the association's master deed, declaration of covenants and restrictions, bylaws and rules. Particularly for someone who has lived most of his or her life in a single-family home, all these rules can take getting used to.
But beyond all the printed-out rules, what does an owner have a right to know, especially as far as finances and accessing financial records are concerned? And how do an owner's rights and the association's rights balance out against each other?
A condo owner is entitled to inspect his association's accounting records, which must receive a record of all receipts and expenditures, by making an appointment with the office. At many annual meetings, there is an accountant present who explains financial information.
Making Reasonable Requests
The right of unit owners to make "reasonable requests" to see the association's accounting records is spelled out Section 46:8B-14(g) of the New Jersey Condominium Act, according to attorney Dennis Estis of Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, LLP, and one of the authors of the book New Jersey Condominium & Community Association Law.