You Want To See What? Acquiring Access to Co-op and Condo Documents

Big purchases come with big reams of’s frustrating, but a fact of life. For co-op shareholders and condo owners, that concept can equate to hundreds of pages of documents outlining everything from the financial status of their residential community to rules regarding sharing common areas.

Occasionally, unit owners and shareholders require access to such documents, or need copies of materials provided at closing. While impossible to share every document involved with the governance of the co-op or condo, most communities try to make materials as readily accessible as possible.

According to experts, the basic governing document for condos is the bylaws, and for co-ops, that document is the proprietary lease. In addition, the offering plan, amendments to the offering plan, articles of incorporation, condominium declaration and the master deed are important documents for building communities as well.

“In a condominium association, you’ve got a master deed and the bylaws…the main governing documents,” says Scott B. Piekarsky of Wyckoff-based Piekarsky & Associates, LLC, a law firm specializing in community association law. “There’s also typically, at the beginning, a public offering statement which contains additional information that’s given to initial purchasers. You may also find other letters from professionals such as the initial insurance letters from the insurance broker and from the accountant certifying as to what’s in the governing documents.”

“In a co-op setting, there is usually a master declaration and house rules, and there could be amendments to the house rules,” continues Piekarsky. “The other critical document is the proprietary lease, those are typically not recorded, but you can get that by requesting it.”


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  • Some HOAs are run like fiefdoms and don’t listen to cooked up books. Cos they have been audited in past 14 years. Yet the Accounting and cooked up books by Property Manager continues. There has got to be a N J law mandating annual audit and full disclosure and transparency. The reason is most owners are illiterate of the goings on and can’t be bothered to attend meetings to tackle such issues and no recorded minutes exist. I speak as a minority Board member recently voted out of the Board. The crooks continue to pass the bucket to next meeting and so on.