Q: Are neighbor complaints about another homeowner open for member examination under an HOA? One or two of my neighbors complain continually about my property. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my house, particularly in comparison to properties surrounding me. However, they single me out and pound on the Board about me. I file ARC modifications on everything, including items that do not require permission. My patience is running thin. I would like to pursue charges against my neighbors. However, I would like to see all the complaints they have filed over the years first. Am I allowed?
A. You are allowed to see and copy written complaints that are submitted to your HOA. These records are considered “official records” of the association, and as a member of the association you have the right under Florida law these “public” records. The concept is similar to your right as a taxpayer to see records maintained by the County in which you reside. Pursuant to Chapter 720, Florida Statutes governing HOA’s, members of the association have the right to inspect and copy written records related to the “operation of the association”. This is a broad scope of records that are open for your review and generally will include any records maintained by the association with the exception of attorney-client privileged documents and other records containing sensitive personal information.
Written complaints from other members about your home should certainly be made available to you, and the association could be exposed to daily fines and attorney’s fees if it fails to respond to your proper written request to see these complaints. When making your request to the HOA, you should also seek access to records involving complaints against other properties to make sure that the association is uniformly enforcing its rules against all members of the community.