Additional Labor Costs: $25 per hour for making records available for review

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. 

Published October 16, 2008

This is exactly what homeowners' activists warned about during the meetings of the HOA TASK FORCE. Vague language that allows boards and members to interpret the record request language [FS 720.303(5)(c)] and charge outrageous fees to deter homeowners from requesting records.

In this case an association board made a rule not only to charge the maximum 50 cents per page for copies allowed by statutes, but as well a $25 per hour fee for making those records available for review to cover the additional labor costs of the office. 

As a member of the HOA Task Force, I was in the middle of these discussions and I can assure you that this kind of interpretation was definitely not part of the legislative intent of the wording of this specific provision. As we all know, the more detailed the wording the more amazing interpretations we get.

The astounding part of this letter is the fact that this legal interpretation comes from a licensed CAM manager, not from a licensed attorney. Besides giving the homeowner a lesson in English, it's very much debatable if the CAM is correct.

I think this "interpretation" shows that a comprehensive reform of the HOA statutes is needed. It seems that too many "experts" can't deal with the lengthy wording of some provisions.

Reading this letter you know why statutes shouldn't say: "The association may adopt reasonable written rules governing ...."

The word "reasonable" is too often abused -- and there are obviously too many boards and CAMs who are not reasonable!




P.O. BOX 3389 - DUNNELLON, FLORIDA 34430 (352) 489-1621 FAX (352) 489-3168

October 8, 2008   

Clarification of FS 720


Your September 28, 2008 fax requested a clarification of Florida Statute 720 with respect to allowable association fees for making copies of official records available to its members.

Please refer to page 2 (c) of the document you faxed to me. It clearly states that "The association may impose fees to cover the costs of providing copies of the official records INCLUDING without limitation, the costs of copying. The association may charge up to 50 cents per page for copies made on the association's photocopier.        Etc.,"

The word "including" means: "as well as", or "together with" or "plus" as defined by the US English Thesaurus.

As you know, older records are not stored in the office. There is a cost associated with pulling records from storage and making specific documents available from those boxes plus the time spent with the member and then to replace those records when taking the box back to storage. The $25.00 per hour fee for making those records available for review is to cover the additional labor costs of the office.


Dick Lemma, LCAM

Manager, Rainbow Springs POA

cc:  Robert Frankenfield, President

Richard Mack, Treasurer