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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4779
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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I want to access the financial records of my homeowners association.

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I want to access the financial records of my homeowners association. There has been no financial disclosure in 10 years. I have sent a certified letter over 30 days ago and sent multiple emails to the acting president and only member of the board. I sent a complaint to the Attorney General but not sure what they can do for me. Can I take her to small claims court? She cashed my check for the fees last year and endorsed it for the association. I want to form a new board but I need the past records to find out who owes money and if she mismanaged funds.

Chris T., JD :

Good evening. I'll be glad to assist you with your question.

Chris T., JD :

Do you have a copy of your association bylaws?

Customer: yes but not sure if it current
Chris T., JD :

OK. Assuming you have a current version, or, at least, that the provisions have not changed that deal with how to challenge the board and force an accounting, what you will have will do.

Chris T., JD :

The first place you should look is at your bylaws. First, there should be a way by which the members can request an accounting. If there isn't, there should be a mechanism by which you can amend the bylaws to allow for an accounting.

Customer: The state statute for hoas states that boards have to disclose the records in 30 days I assume that she has to comply with state law
Customer: There is nothing written in the bylaws of how to force the hoa to disclose records
Chris T., JD :

She does, but you first have to exhaust your remedies under the HOA bylaws first. But, as you've said, you sent a certified letter and they did not respond. Your second step is litigation.

Chris T., JD :

Homeowners have the right to have the community association exercise ordinary care, in reasonable and good faith manner in the performance of its duties. For breach of these fiduciary duties, an association may be held liable by an owner.

Customer: Ok but can I take it to small claims and what do I claim as damages
Customer: Filing a lawsuit and retaining a lawyer will cost me 10,000 plus
Chris T., JD :

In a case like this, you would not be looking for damages (yet). Right now, you would be asking for specific performance. Specific performance is a type of equitable remedy by which a judge orders a party to take some specific action. In this case, disclose the records.

Customer: Can that be be done without an attorney in small claims court
Chris T., JD :

To answer your question, though, you can do that in small claims court.

Chris T., JD :

...and without a lawyer.

Chris T., JD :

Specific performance will only be ordered in situations where the payment of money will not adequately compensate the person bringing suit. Clearly, that would be the case here, since no amount of money can replace access to the records.

Customer: Last question I assume I also ask for Court costs too in addition to performance
Chris T., JD :

Yes, you can. Also, if you did hire a lawyer, you could ask for attorney's fees. A judge has the authority to award attorney's fees in cases where, essentially, one party has no defense to the action. That may be the case here since they are just ignoring a statutory obligation.

Customer: thank you
Chris T., JD :

Glad to help.

Chris T., JD :

Can I do anything else for you?

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