Board meeting minutes for a condo or co-op explained

While your lawyer reads the board meeting minutes as part of his/her duty when conducting
due diligence, we help prospective co-op and condo buyers in order for him/her to also
understand the issues prior to making an offer. It can also assist existing owners to keep
abreast of the building’s issues, and if there are any festering problems.

Minor Issues

The board minutes may contain complaints about the quality of life issues. While a co-op and
condo typically have house rules, these may not cover all issues or residents might push the
boundaries. Additionally, as a general rule, condo boards are more lenient than their co-op

For instance, you might uncover a resident that has a lot of complaints about a loud animal.
Perhaps it is an isolated incident, or it is part of a larger problem. The board minutes could
also reveal a bug infestation problem. In any case, the minutes let you know how the board
handled the matter and whether you found it satisfactory.

Major Issues
The board also discusses major issues. These include disputes between shareholders/unit
owners, lawsuits confronting the building, and major repairs. In the case of a large capital
expenditure, you can find out how the board plans on funding it. You may see an increase in
your monthly maintenance fees/common charges or the board could charge a special
assessment. In extreme cases, the board may mismanage the finances, creating a bad
situation down the line.

How far should you go back?
Boards generally keep a historical record of all the minutes from their meetings. We think it
prudent that you go back at least a couple of years. If you want to review older board
minutes, you can since it provides historical context. You can see the issues confronting the
board and how these were handled, and whether it remains a problem. We suggest weighing
the more recent minutes more heavily, however.

Why bother?
Your lawyer can obtain the minutes from the managing agent in most situations, although not
all buildings allow inspection. If there are minutes that you can review, generally, you are not
permitted to take these off-site. Therefore, you have to accompany your attorney on the visit,
which is typically made via an appointment.

While it is not the most convenient, we suggest making the effort. A board typically meets
monthly, and none are usually scheduled in the summer. This provides you with a healthy
dose of information to digest. It is important since the board meeting minutes provide insight
into how the board operates and the living situation in the building. These issues, both
financial and social, affect your life. While your lawyer is the expert, you should know the
situation, too. You might discover neighbors you find intolerable or a board that you think is
unreasonable, which you want to know prior to moving in.

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