The Census and Community Associations   2 comments

The question has come up repeatedly from property managers and association boards recently: “I’ve been asked by a census taker to” (a) provide access to the building, (b) provide access through the gates, or (c) provide the names and addresses of owners. “Do I need to do it?”
It looks like this question will come up all the more frequently with the final push to complete the 2010 Census.

There’s some split in opinion on this matter.

Without a doubt, if it is a legitimate census taker, then you must provide them access to the property to contact the residents. Any legitimate census taker will have his or her credentials on them to provide to your for your review. Of course, you should confirm their credentials as a census taker before letting them have access. You can confirm their status through the Census Regional Office. Federal law requires that you provide this assistance, and there could be a fine if you do not.

When it comes to the records of the association, though, things get a little stickier. Federal law also requires that information be provided to a Department of Commerce worker in connection with the census. Currently, some attorneys are advising their clients to withhold information until provided with a subpoena; however, given the existence of Section 224 of Title 13, Chapter 7 of the US Code, the wise approach would be to consider the information requested and if it falls within the scope of Section 224 and the potential harm to the association if it is released to the requesting census taker (once you have verified their credentials, of course).

The bottom line: if you are an association manager or on the board of directors and you are being asked to provide information from the association records to someone posing as a census taker, consider if the census taker is who they say they are, what information they are asking for, and consider whether you need to speak with the association’s legal counsel to make sure you do the right thing.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that the information from the Census affects a lot of things that can benefit the association’s members.

By: Amy H. Bray, a partner in our Commercial Real Estate group

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2 responses to “The Census and Community Associations

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  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Census and Community Associations « Andersen, Tate & Carr, P.C. -- Topsy.com

  2. You have done it again! Superb writing.

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