HOA Document Retention Policy, It’s the Law

HOA Document Retention Policy, It’s the Law

Recently, someone asked about an HOA document retention policy, it’s the law. They asked if there is a statute covering HOA document retention, and which documents a planned community must keep, and for how long.

HOA Document Retention Policy, It's the Law
HOA Document Retention Policy, It’s the Law

The answer is found in the Arizona Statutes, ARS 10-11601 which is posted down below. You’ll notice that the last paragraph, subsection F states:

“Notwithstanding this chapter, a condominium association shall comply with title 33, chapter 9 and a planned community association shall comply with title 33, chapter 16 to the extent that this chapter is inconsistent with title 33, chapters 9 and 16.”

There is nothing in title 33 regarding HOA document retention, therefore, this title 10-11601 applies.

All of the requirements for an HOA document retention policy are listed in the title 10 statutes, along with the time required to retain the documents. Every Association that works with a professional property management company or has in-house management will, or should have, an HOA Document Retention Policy which lists in more detail what records should be maintained.

As an example, here is the requirement in ARS 10-11601 subsection 5:

“All written communications to members generally within the past three years…”

To me, that means all emails, all regular postal service mail, and all other written communication to members. If an association sends Notices of Non-Compliance, Notices of Violations, Notices of Fines, etc., in a form format, that is a communication with members and must be retained. In fact, if any of those types of forms are sent to a member regarding a violation, and the copies are not retained, the Association may be placed at risk for a lawsuit with a member alleging that the Association either,

  • violated the contract by not sending the appropriate Notice, or
  • that the Association violated the law, ARS 10-11601, by not retaining the required copies.

The duty and responsibility of maintaining Association records is that of the board Secretary. In many cases, the duty of maintaining the records, along with other duties, is relegated to a property manager. However, the Secretary cannot relegate the responsibility. The buck stops with the Secretary, and ultimately, the board.

Since all HOA boards have the responsibility to supervise their employees and contractors to see that their work is properly performed, it may be feasible for a board to form an “Oversight Committee”, whose responsibility could include various oversight duties including monitoring records retention, etc., and reporting regularly to the board.

Below is the complete HOA document retention statute:

10-11601. Corporate records

  1. A corporation shall keep as permanent records minutes of all meetings of its members and board of directors, a record of all actions taken by the members or board of directors without a meeting and a record of all actions taken by a committee of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation.
  2. A corporation shall maintain appropriate accounting records.
  3. A corporation or its agent shall maintain a record of its members in a form that permits preparation of a list of the names and addresses of all members and in alphabetical order by class of membership showing the number of votes each member is entitled to cast and the class of memberships held by each member.
  4. A corporation shall maintain its records in written form or in another form capable of conversion into written form within a reasonable time.
  5. A corporation shall keep a copy of all of the following records at its principal office, at its known place of business or at the office of its statutory agent:
  6. Its articles or restated articles of incorporation and all amendments to them currently in effect.
  7. Its bylaws or restated bylaws and all amendments to them currently in effect.
  8. Resolutions adopted by its board of directors relating to the characteristics, qualifications, rights, limitations and obligations of members or any class or category of members.
  9. The minutes of all members’ meetings and records of all actions taken by members without a meeting for the past three years.
  10. All written communications to members generally within the past three years, including the financial statements furnished for the past three years under section 10-11620.
  11. A list of the names and business addresses of its current directors and officers.
  12. Its most recent annual report delivered to the commission under section 10-11622.
  13. An agreement among members under section 10-3732.
  14. Notwithstanding this chapter, a condominium association shall comply with title 33, chapter 9 and a planned community association shall comply with title 33, chapter 16 to the extent that this chapter is inconsistent with title 33, chapters 9 and 16.

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