Balancing owner privacy with what goes into board minutes

Q: How can the homeowners association balance the need to make the minutes of board meetings available to homeowners versus privacy laws? As an example, would a property owner who is delinquent with fees be listed in the minutes?

R.A., Sunrise

A: Is this a case of putting every word spoken in the minutes? You do not record in the minutes a transcript of the exact words spoken. Minutes record only the business conducted. Simply put the detailed outline of the agenda, and this would more than likely be one page per hour of meeting.

When it comes to discussing delinquency: The minutes may state that the board discussed the delinquent accounts and approved forwarding “two” accounts to the attorney for legal actions and collections. You do not need to put the names of the delinquent owners in the minutes. If you want more details, maybe you can refer to a delinquent report submitted by the treasurer that would be attached as an appendix to the meeting records.

If an owner requests a copy of the financials including the delinquent accounts, then they should have the right to such information. However, they do not have the right to abuse or use the information that may involve violations of the Fair Credit Act. In other words the information is private and not to be made available as public information.

Q: I live in a condominium community. Can you please clarify the differences between an HOA and our community? Are only single-family homes called an HOA?

M.Y., West Palm Beach

A: There are three different associations: condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowner associations (HOA) and each has a different title. The deed and your title will define the type of community/association.

There are different factors that determine how and why the developer titled the community. The association is not necessarily based on the homes or units such as free-standing homes or townhomes.

Simply explained:

▪ Condominium title is to a unit and an undivided interest in the common area (expressed on the deed/title as an undivided interest).

▪ Cooperative is a lease to a unit in an association that owns all the property.

▪ In a homeowners association (sometimes called by other names such as property owners association or community association), each owner has a deed to their lot/home with a requirement to be a member of the association; the association owns the common area.

Study your deed and you can find the terms that will define your title. Also, read your association documents for additional information.

Richard White has retired and is no longer taking questions.