Even though architectural plans submitted to the Association are not “association records” (Civ. Code §5200(a)) or “enhanced association records” (Civ. Code §5200(b)), an argument can be made that members may (with limitations) inspect plans on file with the architectural committee.
Interior Features Redacted. Per statute, associations may redact or withhold from inspection interior architectural plans and security features. (Civ. Code §5215(a)(5)(F).) Since the statute excludes review of interior plans, it implies that exterior plans can be inspected by members.
The exclusion of interior architecture effectively eliminates most condominium remodel plans since those are almost always interior remodels. As a result, the only architectural documents plans available for review are:
- plans of exterior home remodels,
- plans of condominium balcony, deck and patio improvements, and
- minutes of architectural committee meetings.
Correspondence. Other documents associated with the architectural application process, such as emails, letters, application forms, etc., are not subject to inspection and copying.
Recommendation: Since the right to review architectural plans is not explicit in the Davis-Stirling Act, boards should follow the guidance of their association's legal counsel on this issue.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.