Recent Wisconsin Condominium Law Changes That Affect Your Association: Record Keeping, Financial Records, Audits, and Website Requirements | Husch Blackwell LLP

In 2022, the Wisconsin Legislature passed additional provisions to the Condominium Ownership Act that affect all Wisconsin condominium corporations. As new laws require condo associations to take positive action, your association needs to be aware and prepare.

The changes are in Wis. Stat. Section 703.20, mainly. The wording regarding the financial and operational records that condo corporations were required to keep under section 703.20 was very general in nature, so much so that for our condo corporation clients who were non-share corporations, we would turn to the provisions of the Stock Corporations Act (specifically, sections 181.1601-.1603) for further details and guidance on the records corporations must maintain. With recent changes to section 703.20, this is no longer the case; in fact, Section 703.20(5) now provides that these non-exchange corporate registry laws (Sections 181.1601-.1603) no longer apply to condominium corporations.

What every condo association needs to know

Articles are now much more specific about the records that condo associations are required to keep handy and close at hand. Specifically, all of the following items you need to have on hand going back six (6) years:

  • Minutes of owners’ meetings and board meetings.
  • Records of all actions taken without a meeting (by written vote of owners or informal board action).
  • Detailed accounting records showing a breakdown of all revenues and expenses affecting common items.
  • Annual budgets, which include (1) planned common expenses and amounts to be allocated to the reserve account(s); 2° the amount and purpose of any other expenditure of the association; (3) the amount of the reserve account(s); (4) any joint surplus; (5) the amount/source of any income other than dues; and (6) the amount of any assessment to be imposed on owners and the purpose of the assessment(s).
    • Bank statements and account statements, including reserve accounts
    • Income and expense accounts
    • Audit of association records (if any)
    • Contracts concluded in the last six (6) years (and offers obtained dating back three (3) years)
    • Invoices and expense reports

Part of the reason condominium corporations should keep the above records handy is that Section 703.20 now includes a provision that outlines the rights of unit owners to inspect and copy all records. described above dating back six (6) years. The new wording states that a unit owner, upon 10 days written notice to the association, has the right to inspect all such records and make copies if desired. The law, however, provides some exceptions to what unit owners are allowed to see. Unit owners are prohibited from inspecting (1) records protected by attorney-client privilege or the work product of the association’s attorney; (2) personnel records; (3) another owner’s infraction(s) records; (4) other owner’s assessment payment/non-payment records; or (5) financial records related to the original construction of the condominium project (because the corporation is not required to keep them, period). Subject to these few exceptions, all other records listed above, however, dating back six (6) years, are fair game for the unit owner’s inspection. The Association may redact Excluded/Protected Information before allowing the Unit Owner to inspect the records, and the Association may charge the Owner (a) a reasonable cost for copies; or (b) the cost of labor and materials to supply the copies, but not more than the actual cost or $150, whichever is less.

What every large condominium association (over 100 units) needs to know

In addition to the above, condominium corporations with 100 or more units have another requirement: as of April 1, 2023, they will be required to maintain a website containing all of the corporation’s records listed above and provide access unit password protected. owners and employees/officers of the association. The website may either be directly owned/operated by the association or operated by a third party provider (such as the association’s property management company). So, if you are a large condominium of 100 units or more and you do not have a website, now is the time to create one in order to comply with this new law.

Finally, the thing about audits…

Previously, the bylaws were silent on the requirement for an association to conduct financial audits of its records, and we only had to worry about audit requirements if the association’s governing documents required it. . Not anymore. Section 703.20 now specifies that if the corporation receives a written request from a majority of the owners, the corporation must cause an independent audit to be carried out at the expense of the corporation. The law also states that during the registrant audit period and one year after, only three unit owners or 10% of units owned by non-registrants (whichever is less) can make the written request for an audit. at the expense of the association. In both cases (before and after declaring inspection), the cost is transferred to the requesting owners if an audit has been carried out within 36 months of the request. By taking these statutory changes into account, being aware and prepared, your association will stay ahead of the curve and avoid trouble.

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