Fees & Costs for Records

Every member of an association has certain rights to inspect and copy various association records. However, those rights are not absolute, as some records may be validly withheld or redacted by an association. Additionally, an association is entitled to charge a member for certain costs incurred in fulfilling the member’s records request (i.e., copying, mailing and redacting costs); however, the association is generally prohibited from charging the member a fee “that exceeds the amount necessary to defray the costs for which it is levied.” (Civ. Code § 5600(b).)

Copying & Mailing Costs
Where records are copied and mailed by an association in satisfaction of a member’s request, the association may charge the member for the direct and actual cost of copying and mailing the requested records. (Civ. Code §§ 5205(f), 4950(a).)

Redacting Costs
An association may charge the member “an amount not in excess of ten dollars ($10) per hour, and not to exceed two hundred dollars ($200) total per written request, for the time actually and reasonably involved in redacting an enhanced association record.” (Civ. Code § 5205(g).)

Informing the Member of the Anticipated Costs
An association is required to inform the member of the amount of copying and mailing costs, including estimated redacting costs, and the member is required to agree to pay those costs, before providing the member with the requested records. (Civ. Code § 5205(f)-(g).)

Costs for Electronic Transmission of Records
A member has the option of receiving specifically identified records “by electronic transmission or machine-readable storage media so long as those records can be transmitted in a redacted format that does not allow the records to be altered.” (Civ. Code § 5205(h).) In such cases, the “cost of duplication shall be limited to the direct cost of producing the copy of a record in that electronic format.” (Civ. Code § 5205(h).)