A co-owner wants copies of meeting minutes; do we have to provide them?

I frequently get asked whether an association is required to provide copies of books, records, contracts, etc. from a condominium association’s files.  There are two laws that apply:

The Michigan Condominium Act provides, in MCLA §559.157(1), that "The books, records, contracts, and financial statements concerning the administration and operation of the condominium project shall be available for examination by any of the co-owners and their mortgagees at convenient times.

The Nonprofit Corporation Act provides, in MCLA §450.2485, that "A corporation shall keep books and records of account and minutes of the proceedings of its shareholders or members, board, and executive committee, if any. The corporation shall keep  records containing the names and addresses of all ... members, the number ... of shares held by ... each member and the dates when they respectively became ...members. Any of such books, records, or minutes may be in written form or in any other form capable of being converted into written form within a reasonable time. A corporation shall convert into written form without charge any such record not in such form, upon written request of a person entitled to inspect them."

The Nonprofit Corporation Act goes on to provide, in MCLA §450.2487, that "A person who is a shareholder or member of record of a corporation, upon at least 10 days’ written demand, may examine for any proper purpose in person or by agent or attorney, during usual business hours, its minutes of shareholders' or members' meetings and record of ... members and make extracts therefrom, at the places where they are kept .

The Michigan Condominium Act does not require that a condominium association give copies to a co-owner.  The Nonprofit Corporation Act does specifically provide that a member may make extracts from minutes or member lists.

Common sense should prevail.  In this day and age of cell phone cameras and portable computers with scanners, if a co-owner can look at the records nothing prohibits him from snapping a photo or scanning the record.  If that is the case, then an association should consider whether simply providing a copy of the requested document is faster and easier than requiring the co-owner to make an appointment and come into the office, taking up administrative time in pulling the file and monitoring the co-owner’s review. If the co-owner makes a targeted request (e.g., I’d like a copy of the August, 2013, board meeting minutes.”), then simply mailing copies will usually be easier.

© Steve Sowell 2018