In the world of homeowner associations, “transparency” is the word of the day. On January 1, 2013, the provisions of HB1237 concerning association records went into effect. HB1237 amends the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act. In addition to specifically defining what constitutes an association record, HB1237 also requires that members of the association’s board of directors disclose their email addresses which they use to conduct association business. This requirement has the potential effect of requiring board members using work or personal email addresses to make their email accounts available for inspection in the event of a lawsuit as email strings that contain discussions concerning association business are now considered “association records”. We recommend each member of an association’s board of directors obtain an association exclusive email account that can be passed down from board member to board member (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). This will allow the association to efficiently log and produce email strings that contain association business without the potential exposure related to discovery requests in a lawsuit.
The requirement for producing board member’s email addresses, however, is a one-way street. HB1237 attempts to protect the privacy of owner’s information and specifically states that the following records MUST be withheld and are not subject to inspection and copying by any owner:
In addition, if your association currently has a membership directory that identifies email addresses and telephone numbers, this information can no longer be disclosed by the Association, regardless of whether or not the owner consents. Membership lists or directories cannot be produced or funded by or at the direction of the association. If owners within the community desire to have a membership directory, it should be produced by individual owners obtaining the information from the owners directly and not from the association.
As we move forward with the newly enacted requirements of CCIOA, we could find association’s being held responsible for not only what an association is required to make available for inspection but also what they are required to keep confidential.