No Secrets in a Community Association

Property Management Report
By Tom Simon, Managing Member, Westgate Properties, LLC

Members of a condo association or HOA have the right to examine any association documents.   There is nothing secret about the business of the association.  The foundation for this is in the New Mexico Non-Profit Corporation Act, which is one of the key documents that govern all non-profit corporations in New Mexico.  The relevant portion of the Act, 53-8-27, states that “All books and records of a corporation may be inspected by any member, or his agent or attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time.”

Here is a recommended procedure for an orderly management of this process:

  1. Owner or owner’s authorized representative should send the board or managing agent a request in writing specifying what records they wish to review, the date of those records, and the purpose of the request.
  2. The association representative should respond to such a request within 30 days.  Of course, sooner is better.  During that time the representative will locate the correct documents and get them ready.
  3. The  records should be made available for review during regular business hours at the manager’s office for 30 days after the request is processed.
  4. The association may charge a reasonable fee for copies of records.

Most people use email and can receive documents electronically.  Electronic delivery should be offered as an option to make it easier for owners to obtain the desired documents.  Do not use “the process” as a means to delay delivery of records.  This does not inspire confidence and trust.

If the delivery of documents is in response to a disclosure request such as a Condominium Questionnaire or HOA Disclosure, some attorneys interpret the New Mexico Condominium Act and HOA Act to require that these documents be provided in paper form in order to comply strictly with the Act.

The association is not obligated to provide documents that infringe on the privacy of an individual such as medical or personnel records. These are not considered public records and the association is not required to make them available.  Salary information may be made available in the aggregate, but not for individuals. Some requests may also be denied if they involve ongoing legal or contractual obligations that might expose the association board or manager to liability.  If in doubt, seek legal advice.