Section 718.111(12) of Florida Statutes describes various “items” that constitute the “official records” of a condominium association. In all, there are 16 subsections describing these items, but there’s been a recent but significant change in one of them. Until this change, subsection 15 was a “catch-all” category that included as “official records” “all other records of the association not specifically included in (the other 15 categories) which are related to the operation of the association”.
In the 2015 session of the Legislature, subsection 15 was amended by the addition of the word “written” to the phrase. Effective on July 1, 2015, the catch-all only includes “all other written records of the association not specifically included in (the other 15 categories) which are related to the operation of the association”; so presumably, it does not include non-written records. For example, if an association has a video surveillance system for security purposes and it creates still or video images that are saved to a hard drive, there is no “written” record. Since this “item” is not described in any other category of official records, I would conclude that the digital images on the hard drive are no longer considered an “official record” even though its use is related to operation of the association.
Thus, if an owner demands that the association make available to him the images of the association’s surveillance system which are saved on a hard drive for purposes of inspection and/or copying, I would conclude that under the new law the owner is not entitled to them.
Incidentally, the catch-all for homeowner associations governed by Chapter 720 has applied only to “written” records since 2004.
As always, every case has its own facts and peculiar circumstances and as you see in this example, the law often changes. If faced with such a situation, please consult with an experienced attorney.
August 3, 2015.Share