Deryck Walker of RMIT discusses how long should you keep strata records, and how about meeting minutes, before they are destroyed?
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How long should you keep strata records before they are destroyed?
At the outset, it is important to note that the digital world has entirely changed this question. Limited physical space was the previous driving reason behind the destruction of old records.
With cloud computing and digital imaging, storage of records no longer requires any physical space and therefore you could argue, this does away with any argument in favour of destroying older records. I foresee a time in the near future where records will be kept either indefinitely or at least for a very, very long time.
I understand that police records have a 50 year life cycle, and supreme court records, 75 years. No doubt within these document sets, surely there must be records which are not permitted to be destroyed, however, this is straying well outside of my area of expertise.
The current rule of thumb for strata is 7 years retention for routine housekeeping documents such as bank statements, invoices, quotations etc. Some States legislate for a slightly lesser period.
The big one here is, whilst it isn’t covered by legislation and despite what is permitted by law, best practise is minutes should never be destroyed.
This also applies to documents which record special use, sale or rental of common property such as leases or licenses. Ideally, Strata Managers will retain all records, and by using digital storage, everything can be neatly archived away on a server or the cloud for future reference.
During my time as strata manager, there are innumerable situations where I have been required to dig through archives for information such as resolutions carried at inaugural general meetings (generally for Stratum and Company Share property) from the 1960s, and sometimes far earlier. Had the original manager followed the “bin-it at 7 years rule”, those records would have been long gone, and in some situations, this may have erased any evidence of key resolutions made for matters such as exclusive use provisions.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.
This post appears in Strata News #154
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