Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are emails Official Records?

Many Directors communicate by email; it's more convenient than the telephone and aids in effective operation of the association. Recently the DBPR came down with a decision on the issue and stated that emails on the private computers of directors are not Official records (compare that to elected officials where all emails are official records)

Humphrey vs. Carriage Park Condominium Association, Inc., Case Number 2008-
04-0230 (Campbell, Final Order, March 30,2009), held as follows with respect to condominium
board emails:

The e-mails requested in this case are those existing, if at all, on the personal computers of individual directors. These are not official records of the condominium association. The property of an individual director does not become the property of the association because of his office on the board.

Just as a statement by an individual director cannot bind the board, an e-mail from or to a director, is not a record of the association. Even if directors communicate among themselves by e-mail strings or chains, about the operation of the association, the status of the electronic communication on their personal computer would not change.

Similarly, an e-mail to an individual director or to all directors as a group, addressed only to their personal computers, is not written communication to the association. This must be so because there is no obligation for a director to turn on personal computer with any regularity, or to open and read e-mails before deleting them.

Because there is no evidence the e-mails requested by Petitioners ever became official records, there can be
no penalty for failure to allow inspection of them