Move It Or Lose It ………. What Do You Do With All The Files and Papers ?


Association records can be very important in detailing the history of an association’s activities and documenting decisions made by the board. It is important to keep these records but records can accumulate quickly even in a small association. Many associations have space constraints but unfortunately a board cannot use that as an excuse to discard important records.

An association is not required to keep all documents forever, so let’s figure out which ones to keep and for how long!

Records are kept to comply with laws, to document legal relationships and actions plus support good business judgment. An association board of directors creates a records retention policy that considers the documents to be retained and for how long. In general financial records that support an item of income or deduction on a tax return should be kept for a period of at least seven (7) years.

Our general guidelines are designed to be simple to administer. The suggested time periods for holding records may occasionally be longer than required but with only three categories, permanent, 7 years and 1 year it will be easier to administer. Our guidelines do not cover all records or all situations. Boards may wish to work with their attorney and accounting adviser to customize their own record retention schedule.

Download Records Storage Schedule and Download this full report Move It Or Lose It


Disposing of Association Records

 Hopefully following these guidelines you will eventually have to dispose of records. There are many options including pulverizing, shredding or incinerating. Any of these work but these are confidential documents so don’t leave them in a wastebasket or a dumpster in the alley.

If there are electronic records to dispose of the association may want to consult with a computer tech adviser. It isn’t enough to just delete files from a computer or for that matter even from the recycle bin.


This is a typical page from our schedule:

Records storage schedule_Page_1

 This is the list of items in our schedule:



Documents/ RecordsIn PossessionRetention Period
Governing Documents & RecordsPermanent
Ownership/Membership RecordsPermanent
Map Plat or SurveyPermanent
Governing Documents – Declaration (current and past, amendments)Permanent
Governing Documents – Corporate Charter/Articles of Incorporation (current and past, amendments)Permanent
Governing Documents – Bylaws (current and past, amendments)Permanent
Governing Documents – Board Policies/Resolutions Permanent
Governing Documents – Rules and Regulations Permanent
Governing Documents – Architectural Approved and Disapproved Permanent
Governing Documents – Architectural Guidelines (current and past) Permanent
Minutes  – Annual MeetingsPermanent
Minutes  – Board of DirectorsPermanent
Minutes – Special Meeting Permanent
Minutes – Committee Meetings Permanent
Archival and historical documentation relevant to the history or structure of the associationPermanent
As built plans and specificationsPermanent
Financial Records
Federal and state tax returnsPermanent
Documents used for Tax ReturnsPermanent
Reserve StudiesPermanent
Audits and  Year-End FinancialsPermanent
General ledger fiscal year endPermanent
Insurance Policies , Declaration PagesPermanent
Fidelity BondPermanent
Benefits, Pension, Profit Sharing, Union AgreementsPermanent
Worker Compensation program structure, compliance requirements, reportingPermanent
General legal advice and legal opinionsPermanent
Employee Records 7 Years
Employee Personnel Records 7 Years
Payroll Records & Summaries 7 Years
Financial Records
Budgets7 Years
Owner Assessment Records 7 Years
Accounts Payable and Receivable Ledgers7 Years
Bank Statements, Cancelled Items and Reconciliation7 Years
Cancelled Checks7 Years
Bank Deposits7 Years
Bank Signature Cards7 Years
Certificates of Deposit 7 Years
Monthly Financial Statements 7 Years
General Ledgers (and end of year trial balances) 7 Years
Invoices 7 Years
Subsidiary Ledgers7 Years
Notes Payable Documentation7 Years
Insurance Correspondence7 Years
Insurance Claims Paid7 Years
Accident Reports and Claims 7 Years
Expired Contracts 7 Years
Expired warranties7 Years
Closed litigation files7 Years
Court Filings and Pleadings (foreclosures, small claims actions, etc.)7 Years
Legal Correspondence 7 Years
Violation correspondence 7 Years
Litigation with 3rd parties7 Years
Unit owner files7 Years after sale
General Correspondence 7 Years
Election ballots 1 Year
Proxies 1 Year
Voting records1 Year
Vote tallies1 Year
Unsuccessful bids1 Year




Condo Board Help
330 N Jefferson St. #705 Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: (312) 497-3894