Under Washington law, COAs and HOAs are required to keep various kinds of records. We have visited the issue of what to include within Association records in the past (see our blog post here). However, Associations might want more specific guidance when it comes to how long the various types of records must be kept.
Here, we briefly summarize how long Associations should keep some of the most important records. At the end of this blog post are instructions on how you can request a sample records retention policy that Washington community associations might use as a guide for making records retention decisions.
Financial records: Associations are required by law to keep detailed financial records. Under the Washington Condominium Act (WCA), all COAs must keep financial records including checks, bank records, and invoices; a yearly financial statement; and other records detailed enough to make sure the association can comply with required disclosures relating to resale certificates. HOA recordkeeping requirements are slightly different and less detailed. Under the Washington Homeowners’ Association Act (HOA act), an HOA must keep financial and other records detailed enough to provide each owner with an understanding of the association’s financial status, as well as a yearly financial statement. Financial records should be kept for 7 years.
Governing documents: Governing documents, and all amendments to them, should be treated as records and made available for inspection to owners upon request. Governing documents should be kept permanently.
Meeting minutes: The WCA does not specifically require that minutes be kept at COA board meetings, but a permanent record of board resolutions is necessary and usually those are in the minutes. The HOA act does require that minutes be kept of board meetings, and that the minutes be made available to all unit owners. Meeting minutes should be kept permanently. Meeting-related records should be kept for two years.
As in most matters affecting COAs and HOAs, it is important to examine the association’s governing documents to determine whether they contain specific requirements for recordkeeping, providing access to or copies of records to owners, or any fees that may be charged. And finally, to request a sample records retention policy, feel free to e-mail us: email@example.com.