Our Paralegals Speak English, Spanish, German and French.

How to Access HOA Records: A Guide to California Civil Code § 5200

How to Access HOA Records

Homeowners who are part of a Homeowners Association (HOA) often find themselves seeking transparency and accountability from their board. Fortunately, California law has specific provisions empowering homeowners in this regard. In this article, we will focus on your right to access association records under California Civil Code § 5200, § 5205, and § 5210 of the Davis Stirling Act.

What Records Can You Request?

According to Civil Code § 5200(a), “Association records” include a broad array of financial documents, meeting minutes, membership lists, check registers, and governing documents. This can range from balance sheets, income and expense statements, and executed contracts, to agendas and minutes of meetings of the board and membership.

Civil Code § 5205: Inspection of Records

You have the right to inspect these records. A formal request in writing can be made to the HOA to inspect or copy any of the specified association records. These records must be made available in the association’s business office or another agreed-upon location. If you prefer, you can receive records electronically as long as they can be transmitted in a redacted and non-alterable format. The cost of this would be limited to the direct cost of producing the electronic copy.

Cost of Accessing Records

You may be billed for the direct and actual cost of copying and mailing the requested documents. The association may also bill up to $10 per hour, not exceeding $200 total per request, for the time spent redacting enhanced records.

Civil Code § 5210: Time Periods for Producing Records

As stated in Civil Code § 5210, records prepared during the current fiscal year must be made available within 10 business days following the receipt of your request. For records from the previous two fiscal years, the association has 30 calendar days to comply.

Jane's Quest for Transparency

Hypothetical Situation: Jane’s Quest for Transparency

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation to better understand these laws. Jane, a homeowner in the Sunnyvale Estates HOA, is concerned about increasing annual assessments and a recent decision to renovate the community clubhouse. Suspecting that the board’s financial decisions may not be in the community’s best interest, she decides to request records under Civil Code § 5200.

Taking Action

Jane writes a formal letter to the HOA, citing the relevant Civil Codes, and requests specific records such as income and expense statements and minutes of board meetings. She opts to receive them electronically.

The Outcome

The HOA complies within the stipulated timeframes and informs Jane of the applicable costs, which she agrees to. Jane reviews the documents and finds discrepancies that warrant community discussion. Armed with this information, she effectively holds the board accountable at the next HOA meeting.


This hypothetical example illustrates the power of being an informed member of your HOA. Knowing your rights, the applicable laws, and potential costs can provide you the tools to ensure your HOA is acting responsibly and transparently.

This article serves informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. For specific issues, consult a real estate attorney. I offer one-hour consultations.