Draft Reg#2 - Part 4
The draft regulations also address another issue that causes a lot of disputes in condominiums - record requests. It also sets out requirements for how long records must be retained and the permitted methods of retention. These changes are scheduled to come into force in the fall of 2017. Record Retention According to the regulations, there will be two primary retention periods: 1) a default 7 year minimum period for financial records and other operating records; and 2) an unlimited period for fundamental documents (i.e. declaration, by-laws and rules, current agreements and insurance policies). If a record is maintained but it is not one identified in the regulations, the board will be able to determine the appropriate retention period. There is a useful chart included in the short version of the draft regulation that outlines the records that must be retained and the appropriate retention period for each type. In some cases, the minimum retention period could be extended. For instance, if there is a dispute regarding ballots or proxies, they must be kept until the dispute is abandoned or resolved. Similarly, if there is an outstanding record request, the condominium cannot destroy the record until the request is abandoned or resolved. Finally, the regulations permit the condominium to maintain records in paper and/or electronic format so long as the certain requirements are met. For instance, if it is a paper record, it must be kept on the property (if appropriate) or if not on the property, at a location that enables the condominium to perform its duties and that is also "reasonably close" to the property. This requirement is targetted at the condominiums that require owners to travel long distances to attend at their manager's office to access records. For electronic records, they must be capable of being reproduced within a reasonable time, and they must include a password or other method to protect against unauthorized access. Steps must also be taken to protect against loss, damage or inaccessibility, such as automatic back up or recovery. Access to records The process for examining records is getting a big shake up, in large part, because of the restrictive interpretation of many boards, managers, and lawyers when faced with a request from an owner. The aim of the amendments and regulations is to ensure that the owners have more liberal access to the records. The process has been standardized to make it easier for owners. There will be four steps: 1) request; 2) board's response; 3) requester's response; and 4) access and accounting for charges. There will be standard forms for the first three steps. The length of time for providing access to the record will depend upon the type of record requested.
- Core documents (i.e. declaration, by-laws, rules; current budget; recent financial statements; record of owners; minutes within past 12 months; recent reserve fund; and more) must be provided: 1) within 15 days of receiving the request if the requester selects electronic delivery and it is available in electronic format; 2) within 7 days of the requester's response to the board's response if paper copies are selected; and 3) within 7 days of the requester's response and payment if the requester chooses to examine the documents in person.
- Non-core documents use the same process, but the condominium has 30 days from the date the requester's response and payment are received to provide the records or access to examine them.