FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Maryland homeowner's association

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  Does a proposal booklet shown to homeowner association members at a regular scheduled meeting by a property owner of adjoining property become public property for the association members to review following the meeting?  Info was presented in booklet form of one copy per table of six members to review while a discussion and questions were being asked.  Upon completion of discussion booklets were retrieved by the owner.  Following the meeting when access to the booklets were requested by members, they were told they could not have access to the booklets.  As this was a requested meeting at the developers request, a copy should be placed in the association records of the meeting and be available to members.  No objection was made by the developer during the meeting and presentation when members stated they wanted a copy of the booklet for review following the meeting.  Is a FOIA request appropriate to the association if it refuses to provide a booklet to association members?

A.   Maryland's Public Information Act, which is the State's equivalent to the federal FOIA, does not apply to a private entity, such as a homeowners’ association.  Other provisions of Maryland law, however, may provide for the retention and availability of the records you seek.  See Annotated Code of Maryland, Real Property Article, § 11B-112 (books and records of homeowners association).