Q&A: New Management Troubles

Q In years past, condo unit owners were given copies of the minutes of the annual meeting. A new management company was engaged and this practice stopped. Now, when I have requested the minutes of the annual meeting, I have been told that these minutes are not given out to unit owners anymore. Additionally, I was told that I could go to the management office and “view” them. I believe that I, a unit owner, am entitled to a copy of the minutes of the annual meeting. Every owner, I believe, should have copies of these minutes, as before. Is there a law governing this?

— South Jersey Condo Owner

A “Any condominium unit owner has the right to view the accounting records of the association which must be open to inspection at reasonable times,” says Stephen B. Kotzas, an attorney with the law firm of Berry, Sahradnik, Kotzas & Benson in Toms River. “The records must include all receipts and expenditures, an account for each unit, any charges due, the due dates and the present balance. The right is set forth in statute. There are exceptions relating to threatened or pending litigation, matters which might constitute an invasion of privacy and personnel matters.

“I also advise my clients that although the statute is very broad it should not be read to authorize a ‘fishing expedition’ and the request should have a proper purpose. These last two limitations do not appear in the Condominium Act but are a part of the law of nonprofit corporations. The association may adopt a reasonable procedure for review of its books and records. I see no reason why a member in good standing may not see the minutes of the board meetings once they have been approved, provided any information falling under the exceptions is redacted. See NJSA 15A:5-24 and NJSA 46:8B-14.”

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