You Want To See What? Acquiring Access to Co-op and Condo Documents

Big purchases come with big reams of paperwork...it’s frustrating, but a fact of life. For unit owners, that concept can equate to hundreds of pages of documents outlining everything from the financial status of their residential community to rules regarding sharing common areas.

Occasionally, unit owners and shareholders require access to such documents, or need copies of materials provided at closing. While impossible to share every document involved with the governance of the association, most communities try to make materials as readily accessible as possible.

According to experts, the basic governing document for associations is the bylaws. In addition, the offering plan, amendments to the offering plan, articles of incorporation, community association declaration and the master deed are important documents for building communities as well.

“In a community association, you’ve got a master deed and the bylaws…the main governing documents,” says Scott B. Piekarsky of Wyckoff, New Jersey-based Piekarsky & Associates, LLC, a law firm specializing in community association law. “There’s also typically, at the beginning, a public offering statement which contains additional information that’s given to initial purchasers. You may also find other letters from professionals such as the initial insurance letters from the insurance broker and from the accountant certifying as to what’s in the governing documents.”

A Right to See Docs

“Shareholders or unit owners have the right to a building’s books, records and documents,” says Dan Wurtzel, president of FirstService Residential New York. “The easiest way to make them accessible is to have them on a website.”

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