What’s going on?
“Some information I just keep to myself.
—Arnold Schwarzenegger,  Governor of California

It is amazing how little most owners know about their condo corporation.

Before buying a stock, most people spend time and effort learning about the company, its management and the directors. They study its history and the price of its stock. Then after checking with analysts they decide to buy.

Afterwards, they regularly check how their investment is doing by tracking the stock price in the newspapers or on the Internet, reading the Annual Reports and following business news and the analysts' projections.

When stock prices go down or fail to rise, the company's board of directors and management are held accountable. If it looks like management is hiding information, confidence drops and the directors and/or management are replaced. If they don't go, the investors sell their stock.

Right to information
The owners of a condo are first, and most importantly, investors in a corporation and they need to know how their investment is doing so they can make changes to the management and board if change is required or sell if it appears that their investment in depreciating.

To get an accurate picture of how safe their investment is, the owners can tour some of the common elements, ask management questions and examine the corporation records.

Right to examine records ignored
The right to examine the corporation's records is guaranteed by the Condo Act. The Act goes so far as to impose a $500 fine if the corporation does not allow the owners to view the records. The courts have upheld that right.

Yet many condo managers and boards refuse to allow owners to examine the records. Sometimes they demand exorbitant payments to discourage owners from asking for the records and sometimes they don't give a reason.

The courts have allowed "reasonable costs" to be charged when owners have made unreasonable requests to examine numerous records. Some boards and property managers have pushed the definition of "reasonable costs" to obviously unreasonable levels.

This is a sign that management is determined to hide information and it should make the owners very suspicious.

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