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REAL ESTATE 81: Plaintiff’s requests to inspect records of condominium association.

Defendant, EV Condominium Association, denied plaintiff’s record-inspection requests because, according to defendant, the requests did not state a proper purpose. This led plaintiff to file a complaint in the trial court to compel his record inspection requests.

Record Inspection

This case arises out of plaintiff’s requests to inspect seven records: (1) bills or invoices showing the cost of past litigation; (2) records relating to orders for wrist bands that were given to co-owners to allow them access to the condominium’s pool; (3) work orders or invoices for bulb replacement done in plaintiff’s building; (4) Board minutes from April 2019 until September 2019; (5) records relating to plaintiff’s checks from approximately June 2019 through September 2019 were received by defendant and posted to plaintiff’s account; (6) Board minutes for 2018; and (7) financial statements for 2017 and 2018.

Defendant denied plaintiff’s requests, which led to the lawsuit.

Defendant Denies Request

In the motion, defendant argued that plaintiff had to state a proper purpose to inspect documents when his inspection request was made. Defendant attached numerous correspondences between plaintiff and defendant, and argued that, based on those correspondences, it was impossible to determine what documents plaintiff was requesting to inspect and for what purpose he was requesting the inspection. Defendant contended that, for this reason, plaintiff’s inspection requests were made without a proper purpose, so defendant was justified in denying the requests.

Plaintiff asserted that if defendant read plaintiff’s requests properly then plaintiff’s proper purpose for his inspection requests would be clear and argued that defendant had the burden to prove that plaintiff’s purposes for his requests were improper under MCL 450.2487. He also asserted that he was entitled to inspect the records by virtue of MCL 559.157, which did not require him to state a proper purpose.

Court Opinion

At issue is plaintiff’s requests to inspect records of defendant, a nonprofit condominium association. The books, records, contracts, and financial statements concerning the administration and operation of the condominium project shall be available for examination by any of the co-owners and their mortgagees at convenient times

In its opinion, the trial court repeated the record-inspection requests from plaintiff’s complaint and noted that they were difficult to follow, but ultimately concluded that they were clear enough to inform defendant of what records Plaintiff is seeking, and why. Accordingly, the trial court denied defendant’s motion for summary disposition and granted summary disposition to plaintiff insofar as he sought to inspect defendant’s records.

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