Q&A: Management Company Negligent?

Q Our management company just changed hands. The building records were shipped to the co-op, placed in a room across from the laundry and the rumor is that only the superintendent has the key. The other night when the new manager came, he left the door unlocked and the records were exposed to anyone who had access to that room. Since this new manager does not see the importance of housing our records at his location, I am afraid of identity theft and want my folder removed from that room. Do I have the right as a board member and shareholder to remove it?

—Concerned Shareholder

A “The management company has a fiduciary obligation to the unit owners to safeguard their records,” says Hackensack-based attorney Donald Onorato. “Likewise, the letter writer as a member of the board of trustee has an obligation to the association to ensure that the interests of the shareholders are protected and their personal information is not compromises.

“The letter writer should consult with fellow board members, and advise the management company in writing that the records have not been safeguarded and they must immediately place these records in a safe place to ensure that personal information such as social security numbers, etc. are not stolen or compromised. The board member should not just remove his/her personal file, but as the association acts through a board of trustees, the board should ensure that the records are protected.

“If the management company does not understand the importance of safeguarding records, the board should contact its counsel since it is clear that the management company has been negligent in allowing potentially sensitive information to be disclosed to a third party.” n

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