NEW HAMPSHIRE AMENDS CONDOMINIUM ACT

Published on: November 17, 2017

The NH legislature’s tweaks and additions to the NH Condominium statute have continued in 2017 with the passage of House Bills 501 and 502.  Both bills go into effect on August 15, 2017.  What follows is a brief summary of the new legislation.   HB 501:  Section 37(VI) of the NH Condominium Statute (RSA 356-B) was amended to require that an “electronic or paper copy of all meeting minutes” be made available to all owners for at least 3 years from the date of such meeting.  Additionally, the Board is required to respond to an owner’s request for a copy of the minutes (paper or electronic) within 15 days of the request.    Note that the statute already requires that meeting minutes be available to owners within 60 days of the meeting or 15 days of the date such minutes are approved by the Board, whichever occurs first.  Therefore, if an owner requests a copy of the minutes only 5 days after the meeting, they need not be provided to that owner until approved or within 60 days of the meeting, whichever occurs first.   HB 502: This bill creates a brand-new section 37-e to the NH Condominium Statute concerning the disclosure of financial information and meeting minutes to unit owners.  Again we see efforts by the legislature to make Board business more transparent and to empower owners through the flow of information from the Board.  The unfortunate by-product of that legislative effort, however, is even more requirements and burdens upon board and management.   In particular, this new law requires Boards to do the following:

  1. Create a profit and loss statement that must be available to unit owners 30 days prior to the annual meeting.  The format of such profit and loss statement must remain constant from year to year (I suggest sending a copy with the annual meeting notice assuming you can send it 30 days in advance of the meeting)
  2. Provide access to unit owners to “all financial information” within 15 days of the owner’s request regarding any “contracts, mortgages, loans, and the terms of such loans, and any outstanding debts and balances of all accounts held by the Association”.  The Association need not provide information on the individual unit owners’ accounts—i.e., which owners are delinquent—unless a lien has been recorded against that owner.  The Association is thus required to disclose, upon request, owners who have had a lien recorded against their unit.  The statute does not specify how one discloses this unit owner’s account to a requesting unit owner so I suggest that a copy of the lien be provided.
  3. Provide access to the “names of all employees of the associations and the salaries paid to employees with association funds, including any third party arrangements for services”
  4. Disclose if any employee is related to a board member.  Disclosure to occur at the next annual meeting.

The association or management may charge a fee to owners who request such information beyond the last 3 fiscal years.  It is therefore of the utmost importance to keep 3 years’ worth of financial information readily available so that such requests can be responded to with a minimal amount of man hours devoted to the task.   If there is one benefit to Associations via HB 502, it is that meeting minutes may be emailed or published on the association’s website as a means of compliance.  Meeting minutes may further be approved by Board members through electronic means such as email or video chat.
For a copy of House Bill 501 [click here]. For a copy of House Bill 502 [click here].
For any questions regarding this article, please contact Dean Lennon at dlennon@meeb.com.