Save It or Shred It? Document Retention Tips for Managers and Associations

You’re not alone if you have hard time getting your clients to remember that community associations are businesses — and businesses need document retention plans. Yet many associations take an ad hoc approach (at best) to managing their paperwork. “This can become a problem because community associations are required to keep a great deal more documents than any individual director is accustomed to in their personal lives,” says Mitch Drimmer, vice president of business development at Axela Technologies, a Florida-based collections firm specializing in delinquent association fees. “So naturally the task of document retention falls on the management company, and the failure to do it properly can have many negative effects.” Imagine, for example, the dire consequences for an association trying to make an insurance claim, institute collections actions, or defend a lawsuit brought by an owner without the necessary documentation. Associations often need help from their managers in this area. “I have seen many associations that either don’t know what their obligations are with respect to document retention or otherwise misinterpret those obligations,” says Joshua Weinstein, an attorney with Kovitz, Shifrin Nesbit in Mundelein, Ill., whose practice concentrates on community association law. “In both cases, an association can be exposed to liability.” Weinstein advocates establishing formal document retention policies. “It exhibits transparency and allows board members to be prepared in the event of owner issues, litigation, fines, discovery, and local government requirements.” To learn more about how managers can help their clients develop and implement effective policies, read our new article, Know When to Hold ’Em: Document Retention for Community Associations and Their Managers. Best regards, Matt Humphrey President