How to Govern Your HOA: Keep No Secrets

There should be nothing secret about the business of your association.  In fact, if you pay dues to your association, you should have copies of key documents like the bylaws and rules.  HOAs, in particular, operate similarly as a not for profit, co-op, where all property owners share in the functioning of their common areas and do so by assigning the responsibilities to a Board, as well as to accept the risk of their Board’s failures and liability.   Therefore, it is imperative that all HOAs practice transparency.  

If you discover that your current management company or your Board say otherwise, they may be violating the law.  They may also be exposing you and every homeowner to unnecessary risks and possible fines.  Why is protection from liability important?  Because, in the event of accounting fraud, injury or heinous activities, any financial penalty imposed by a court of law would be passed along to its membership.  In other words, your HOA dues would increase in the form of assessments. 

Every member is legally bound by their covenants, conditions and restrictions or CC&Rs, and therefore has a stake in the outcome of your Board’s decisions.  Here are common documents that are open for the membership:

  • Board meeting minutes
  • Insurance policies
  • Financial statements and annual audits
  • Declaration and bylaws
  • Rules and regulations
  • Current contracts
  • Leases and agreements

Here’s how to gain access:

  1. Send the Board a request in writing specifying exactly what records you wish to review, the date of those records and the purpose of your request.
  2. The Board should respond to your request within 30 days. During that time the Board or manager will locate the correct documents and get them ready for you.
  3. The records that you request should be available for your review during regular business hours for 30 days after your request is processed.
  4. The association may make copies of records for a reasonable fee.

Members cannot request documents that infringe on the privacy of an individual like medical or personnel records.  HOA documents are not public records.  Salary information may be available in the aggregate, but not for individuals.  Some requests might also be denied if they involve ongoing legal or contractual obligations that might expose the association Board or manager to liability. 

About MGM Association Management: A 20 year HOA Management company, offers HOA progressive management solutions. Their belief is to allow full transparency even to those HOAs who want to remain independent and to those contracting for full services.  Because of this, MGM has become the largest and the most trusted association manager in the State of Idaho.  With three simple service plans, MGM can scale a program within any HOA’s budget.  To learn more about how MGM Association Management partners with homeowner associations, call for a free HOA evaluation, (208) 846-9189, or go to