(WSVN) - If you live in a condo or homeowners association, you may wonder: where is all your money going? Do you have a right to the records, and if so how do you get them? Which is why one South Florida woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
The Hammocks at Riverglen is a nice neighborhood, a good place for Fredrica to walk around, but she isn’t going door to door to admire the lawns.
Fredrica Nilsson: “This is a recall.”
Fredrica is trying to remove two homeowner association board members.
Fredrica Nilsson: “I wanted to see the financial statements.”
Why? Let’s back up.
Fredrica Nilsson: “Yeah, I’m looking for transparency, and that’s not what we’re getting.”
After Fredrica asked to see things such as bank statement details from operational and reserve accounts, she says they let her see them.
Fredrica Nilsson: “Then they insist that they gave me everything.”
Fredrica Nilsson: “It wasn’t what I had asked for. It was part of it.”
After her neighbor Rene Neal became president of the board, she asked to see all the financial records.
Fredrica Nilsson: “First thing being that they didn’t share the financials with the president.”
Rene didn’t want to speak about two men who run the board but found out how they felt after her request to see the records
Patrick Fraser: “So the board president started asking questions.”
Fredrica Nilsson: “Mm-hmm.”
Patrick Fraser: “So instead of answering, they removed her from the presidency.”
Fredrica Nilsson: “Yes.”
Fredrica said the two board members and their friend voted to make him the president and demote Rene to just a board member.
Fredrica then put up this sign in her front yard that says, “Do you know where your money is … Demand bank statements.”
The board attorney quickly emailed her telling her to take it down and stop contacting the board.
Fredrica Nilsson: “My husband is a little afraid that I’m making enemies.”
And that’s why Fredrica and 58 neighbors have signed a petition to remove two board members, two people she doesn’t think are doing anything illegal, but have just decided Fredrica, the former board president and some residents can’t see the records they want to see.”
Fredrica Nilsson: “For them to fight me so badly on giving me what I asked for, I don’t understand what they’re hiding– if they’re hiding anything.”
Well, Howard, what can owners like Fredrica do?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Legally, it is clear. All a property owner has to do is make a written request specifying what records you want. Don’t say all of them. Be specific. They have 10 days to turn them over. If they don’t, you can take them to court where you will win, and a judge will order them to turn over the records and make them pay your legal fees, which will be thousands of dollars.”
I emailed all five board members. The three who voted to remove Rene as president did not respond.
Rene did, writing since being on the board she had not received any bank statements and now has stopped receiving the end of month reports and invoices.
Regarding their inability to see the finances, the fifth board member wrote to me, “Rene, and I have our hands tied, as it is always the three of them against the two of us. The board attorney wrote Fredrica they had provided her with access and copies to the HOA’s official records. He added the board was going to do an audit to provide transparency, which will cost all the residents money.”
Fredrica Nilsson: “They fought very hard to not let me see them.”
Fredrica has now sent out a letter giving them 10 days to release the records she wants to see, and maybe they will see she is not giving up.
Fredrica Nilsson: “I’ve come this far. Why stop now?”
Why won’t the people running the board let Fredrica and the other two board members see the records they want to see? It may take a judge to order them to be turned over, and then maybe we will find out why.
Now, if you want to see your association’s financial records, the link to a letter to send them is under this Help Me Howard story. Go get ’em…
Not aboard with a board recall when things were different? Vote to go in our direction, cause you don’t have to worry about our finances. We are free.
Example of Documents for Homeowners and Condo Association Financial Records:
SEND CERTIFIED US MAIL RETURN RECEIPT
(Name of HOA)
(Address of HOA)
RE: Records Request pursuant to F.S. 720.303
To whom it may concern;
As a homeowner in this association, and pursuant to Section 720.303, Florida Statutes, I hereby request to inspect the following official records of the association:
The financial and accounting records of the association from the present and going back to (date)(pick a year no more than 7 years ago.)
(Add – any other documents desired.)
As I assume you are well aware, the association has 10 days to comply with this request. Failure to comply by the 10 day deadline subjects the association to damages of $50 per day, up to $500.
I can be reached as follows: _, in order to set up a date and time to inspect and/or copy the requested official records of the association.
(Please note that I’m entitled to inspect the records within 10 days, as opposed to being notified on day 10 that the records will be available on some future date.)
(Name and address of requesting party)
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