In addition to any record keeping requirements that your governing documents may contain, California law requires that Associations retain accounting records, minutes of meetings, and member lists. Additionally, and in order to expedite any potential claims that may arise, we strongly recommend that Associations retain all documentation pertaining to construction defects and/or property damage that may exist in the building or any units for at least ten years from the time the project was built. Work closely with your property manager to formulate a retention policy for these types of documents. You can read more about statutes of limitations and similar issues in the Construction Defect articles on our website.
Some are easy to know -- the minutes books, year-end financials, governing documents, insurance policies, and evidence of important membership votes are permanent association records, to be safeguarded and kept always. Some records are important but have a shorter life-span -- for example, large construction contracts, service contracts, warranties, and similar documents that preserve important legal rights should be kept for a long time, certainly as long as the rights they protect. Most documents, however, fall into more of a grey area. The general rule of thumb for business records is seven years.