The following is a general checklist for how long records should be kept. This checklist does not cover all records or situations. Boards of HOAs should work with legal counsel and a CPA to establish their own records retention policy to meet the needs of their HOA.
1. Governing Documents
- Declaration or CC&Rs
- Articles of Incorporation
- Plats and/or Condominium Map
- Rules and Regulations
- Governance Policies
- Architectural guidelines
- Board and membership meetings
- Committees with decision-making authority
3. Deeds to property owned by the Association
4. Architectural Plans
To ensure that all statutes of limitations have passed, the following records should be kept for seven years before disposing of them.
1. Financial Records
- General ledgers, journals and charts of account
- Year-end financial statements
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable ledgers, trial balances and billing records
- Canceled checks and bank statements
- Expense analysis and expense distribution schedules
- Invoices from vendors
- Deposit slips
- Petty cash vouchers
- Purchase orders
2. Expired Contracts
3. Personnel Records (payroll records and employee records after termination)
4. Insurance Records
- Accident reports
- Settled claims
- Expired policies
- Fidelity bonds
- Certificates of insurance
5. General Correspondence
6. Closed Litigation Files
8. Expired Warranties
9. Tax Returns
Ballots and proxies must be retained by associations for no less than one year after the date of the election.
Whenever an association disposes of records, it must ensure that the records are completely destroyed, preferably by shredding or incineration. Simply throwing them into the trash can result in potential liability if confidential records end up in the wrong hands.
Litigation Hold – Records for Lawsuits
Records should not be destroyed if the association has notice of or reasonably believes it will be involved in a lawsuit. The destruction of relevant records could result in sanctions imposed in the pending lawsuit or in exemplary or punitive sanctions in order to adequately compensate the victim of such conduct or to deter future culpable conduct.