Association records, especially for older associations, may become voluminous over time. While there is no clear definition of what constitutes an “association record,” generally, any document that involves association business is considered a “record.” And yes, that probably means email communications between board members.
Records are important for obvious reasons. They may show how or why certain board decisions were made, the financial status of the association, or the maintenance and repair history for common property. If the association is ever involved in litigation, records related to the litigation must be produced; the association may be sanctioned if it destroys or withholds relevant documents.
The question, then, is which records must be kept and for how long? With current technology, thousands of documents can be stored on a single disk or portable drive. Regardless of which documents are kept and how they are stored, every association should adopt a record retention policy or resolution for the current and future boards to follow.
For more information, speak with your attorney or check your state’s statutes for record retention requirements and general recommendations.
Below are some statutory record retention requirements, along with some general recommendations. For condominiums, turn to ORS 100.210; ORS 100.480(1); ORS 65.771, and for planned communities, review ORS 94.670(1); ORS 65.771.
- Statutory Retention Periods
- Permanent Records
- The following documents, if received (at turnover):
- As-built architectural, structural, engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing plans. ORS 100.480(1)(a); ORS 100.210(5)(j)(A); ORS 94.670(1)(a); ORS 94.616(3)(o)(A).
- Original specifications indicating thereon all material changes. ORS 100.480(1)(a); ORS 100.210(5)(j)(B); ORS 94.670(1)(a); ORS 94.616(3)(o)(B).
- Plans for underground site service, site grading, drainage and landscaping together with cable television drawings. ORS 100.480(1); ORS 100.210(5)(j)(C); ORS 94.670(1)(a); ORS 94.616(3)(o)(C).
- All other plans and information relevant to future repair or maintenance of the property. ORS 100.480(1); ORS 100.210(5)(j)(D); ORS 94.670(1)(a); ORS 94.616(3)(o)(D).
- A list of the general contractor and the electrical, heating and plumbing subcontractors responsible for construction or installation of common property. ORS 94.670(1)(a);ORS 94.616(3)(0)(E). Does not apply to condominiums.
- Minutes of meetings of members. ORS 65.771(1).
- Minutes of meetings of board of directors. ORS 65.771(1).
- Corporate action taken by members or directors without a meeting. ORS 65.771(1).
- Records of all actions taken by committees of the board of directors in place of the board on behalf of the association. ORS 65.771(1).
- Resolutions adopted by the board relating to characteristics, qualifications, rights, limitations and obligations of members. ORS 65.771(5)(c).
- Three years
- All written communications with the prior three years required by ORS Chapter 65 (Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Act). ORS 65.771(5)(e).
- All written communications made to members in prior three years. ORS 65.771(5)(e).
- One year
- Proxies and Ballots-one year from date of determination. ORS 100.480(1)(b); ORS 94.670(1)(b).
Recommendation: Retain proxies and ballots for amendments to governing documents which need to be recorded for one year from date of recording the amendment.
- Current Only
- Articles of Incorporation and amendments currently in effect. ORS 65.771(5)(a).
- Bylaws and amendments currently in effect. ORS 65.771(5)(b).
- List of names and business or home addresses of the current directors and officers. ORS 65.771(5)(f).
- Most recent annual report delivered to the Secretary of State. ORS 65.771(5)(h).
- Financial Records – sufficient for proper accounting. ORS 100.480(2); ORS 94.670((3); ORS 65.771(2)
- The last three annual financial statements, if any, must be available for inspection. ORS 65.771(5)(g).
- The last three accountant’s reports if annual financial statements are reported by a public accountant, must be kept for inspection. ORS 65.771(5)(h).
- Types of Financial Records: Accounts payable and receivable ledgers; Bank statements, cancelled check; Certificates of deposit; Budgets; Tax returns; Audits, etc.
- Recommended Non-Statutory Retention Periods
- Contracts – ten years from date of completion of contract
- Insurance Policies – ten years
- Insurance Claims-ten years
- Legal files-pleadings, judgments, other documentation – ten years
- Tapes of board and association meetings – one
- Miscellaneous records – ten years
- Disclosure And Inspection of Records
- Who may inspect. ORS 94.670( 8); ORS 100.480(8)(a).
- What may be examined. ORS 94.670( 8); ORS 100.480(8)(a).
- All records of the association must be reasonably available for examination, except:
- Personnel matters relating to specific identified person or person’s medical records. ORS 94.670(8)(a); ORS 100.480(8)(b)(A).
- Contracts, leases, and other business transactions under negotiation. ORS 94.670(8)(b);ORS 100.480(8)(b)(B).
- Communications with legal counsel that relate to matters (a) and (b) above. ORS 94.670(8)(c); ORS 100.480(8)(b)(C).
- Disclosure which would be in violation of the law. ORS 94.670(8)(d); ORS 100.480(8)(b)(D)
- Documents, correspondence, management or board reports compiled for board or association by agents or committees for consideration by board in executive session. ORS 94.670(8)(e); ORS 100.480(8)(b)(E).
- Documents, correspondence, or other matters considered by board in executive session. ORS 94.670(8)(f); ORS 100.480(8)(b)(F).
- Files of individual owners. ORS 94.670(8)(g); ORS 100.480(8)(b)(G).
- Must provide records within 5 business days. ORS 65.774(1).
- Duplication of Records ORS 94.670(8).
- Request must be in writing
- Request must be in good faith and for a proper purpose
- The purpose and the records the member desires to inspect must be described with reasonable particularity. ORS 65.774(3)(b).
- Records must be directly connected with the purpose. ORS 65.774(3)(c).
- Association must keep a copy, suitable for duplication, of certain records:
- Which records
- Declaration and bylaws, including amendments and supplements currently in effect; and recorded plat, if feasible. ORS 94.670(9)(a);
- Current rules and regulations. ORS 94.670(9)(a); ORS 100.480(9)(a).
- Most recent financial statement. ORS 94.670(9)(b); ORS 100.480(9)(b).
- Current operation budget. ORS 94.670(9)(c); ORS 100.480(9)(c).
- Reserve study. ORS 94.670(9)(d); ORS 100.480(9)(d).
- Architectural standards and guidelines. ORS 94.670(9)(e); ORS 100.480(9)(e).
- These records must be furnished within 10 business days of request. ORS 94.670(10); ORS 100.480(10).
- By resolution, Board may establish reasonable rules. ORS 94.670(11), ORS 100.480(11).
- Governing frequency, time, location, notice and manner of examination and duplication of records
- May impose reasonable fee for furnishing copies of documents
a. May include reasonable personnel and material costs for furnishing documents. ORS 94.670(11); ORS 100.480(11); ORS 65.777(3).
b. The charge may not exceed the estimated cost of production or reproduction of the records. ORS 65.777(3).