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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33384
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Are records of all HOA proceedings, documents, emails,

Customer Question

Are records of all HOA proceedings, documents, emails, receipts, invoices for work done etc. public record? Can a resident living in an HOA request these records? Is a subpoena needed? recommended?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

The records aren't public records, in the same way that the records of a government agency would be, but MD has very specific laws on what documents a HOA must keep and the access that people have to those records.

These are all set forth in http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2013/article-grp/section-11b-112

You can likely get any other records with a subpoena but you have to have a lawsuit filed before you can get a subpoena. The HOA will also have a lawyer that is helping them to defeat anything you try to do and so you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer yourself. I was a city attorney at one time and we were often able to successfully avoid having to provide papers since the person making the request didn't phrase the request properly.

You can find a lawyer to assist you by going to www.lawyers.com and in the section for Area of Practice enter Civil Litigation or Consumer Law. Either of those will have the skill set you need.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
It's been very helpful. I am specifically concerned with how a decision was reached with regard to the removal of 6 healthy trees in an open space area of the development. I believe there were emails and conversations amongst between board members and perhaps some residents in the development and that's what I would like to see. Are such communications in light of the fact that they don't hold public meetings something that I can request with, and/or without a subpoena. In other words are they considered public records/information? There are also asserting the other things were attempted to improve the area that didn't result in positive results. Things supposedly related to pruning, underground irrigation that I don't believe ever occurred in the 10 years I have lived here. Can I ask for receipts and invoices related to these actions. Something to prove that they occurred?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

You can definitely get them through a subpoena when the lawsuit starts. You can also likely get them through the discovery process since items just have to be "calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant facts" to make them discoverable.

Prior to that you are limited to the things listed in that statute that I gave you. When there is a statute which specifically outline what can be obtained then that takes precedence over the general "open/public records".