Q&A: New Management, No Minutes

Q In years past, unit owners were given copies of the minutes of the annual meeting. A new management company was engaged and this practice stopped. Now, when I have requested the minutes of the annual meeting, I have been told that these minutes are not given out to unit owners anymore. Additionally, I was told that I could go to the management office and “view” them. I believe that, I, a unit owner, am entitled to a copy of the minutes of the annual meeting. Every owner, I believe, should have copies of these minutes, as before. Is there a law governing this?

—Uninformed Condo Owner

A “While condominiums are not specifically subject to New York’s Business Corporation Law (BCL), the BCL is often cited as a model for condominium governance,” says Andrew B. Freedland, Esq. of the Manhattan-based law firm of Rosen & Livingston. “Unlike cooperatives which are corporations specifically governed by the BCL, condominiums do not technically fall within the purview of the BCL. However, in answering a question such as this one the BCL is used as a guide. Specifically, Section 624 of the BCL answers your question.

“Your prior managing agent’s practice, while convenient, was beyond what is required under New York law. New York law requires that a corporation permit a shareholder, upon five days written notice to inspect and copy the minutes of shareholders’ meetings for any purpose reasonably related to such person’s interest as a shareholder (unit owner in the case of a condominium).

“While you are permitted to inspect the minutes of unit owner proceedings, the condominium may require that you submit an affidavit to the condominium or its managing agent that (1) the inspection is not for a purpose which is in the interest of a business or object other than the business of the condominium and (2) that you have not within five years sold or offered for sale a list of unit owners of any condominium (or shareholders of a corporation) or aided or abetted any person in procuring such records for any such purpose. Condominiums usually do not require such an affidavit for inspecting unit owner meeting minutes.

“In addition to requiring that unit owners be permitted to view and copy minutes of unit owner meetings, Section 624 of the BCL also permits a unit owner who has been denied the right to view unit owner meeting minutes to apply to the Supreme Court for an order compelling inspection of the minutes and records of unit owners’ proceedings.

“Thus, the position of the condominium and its current managing agent is in compliance with New York law as we interpret it to apply to condominiums.”

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  • If after 5 days and the board has not produced a record of shareholders, what next? Is there a time limit on when the board has to provide these documents?