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Requests to Inspect and Copy Community Association or Company Records: Should it be this complicated?

A Virginia Beach jury found a condominium association liable for failing to permit unit owners an opportunity to inspect and copy association records. Not only must the condo board allow inspection and copying, they must pay for an audit of the association records and pay $50,000 for the unit owners’ attorneys’ fees.

These questions arise frequently. This blog post reviews the various Virginia statutes that address the right to inspect and copy records for companies, HOAs and condominium associations.

There are five different statutes that address a right to inspect and copy company records.

1. Virginia Condominium Act. A unit owner in good standing has the right to examine and copy association records “so long as the request is for a proper purpose related to his membership in the unit owners’ association, and not for pecuniary gain or commercial solicitation.” This statute was applied in a case in which the Virginia Supreme Court permitted a unit owner to inspect and copy salary information which identified the precise compensation paid to certain employees. Generally, an association can withhold records relating to

2. Virginia Property Owners Association Act. A member in good standing can examine and copy certain HOA records “so long as the request is for a proper purpose related to his membership in the association.” This right is limited similarly as set forth in the Virginia Condominium Act.

3. Virginia Stock Corporation Act. A shareholder of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy certain records of the corporation. However, this right is limited to when

4. Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act. Under this act, a member  is entitled to inspect and copy certain records of the corporation. However, this right is limited to when

5. Virginia Limited Liability Act. Finally, under this Act, a member has the rightupon reasonable request, to inspect and copy any of the limited liability company records required to be maintained by the Act. However, even that right is qualified. If the information demanded is unreasonable or otherwise improper under the circumstances, inspection can be limited. Further, access can be limited by the company’s operating agreement.

Depending upon the entity, access to records for inspection and copying can be confusing. Generally, we would expect a court to rule expansively on a member or shareholder’s right to access. Make sure your company, homeowner’s association, or condominium association is well advised on its obligations to maintain records and provide access to those records.


Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law

Williamsburg, Virginia

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John Tarley

John is the firm's managing partner and chairs the firm's small business, zoning, and litigation practice areas.

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