How Long Should You Keep Site Records?
Sites generate a lot of records, such as leasing records, maintenance records, security deposit records, incident reports, and so on. Because these records take up space in leasing or management offices, most staff members want to get rid of them as soon as possible. But these records can help you if you ever need to defend yourself in a lawsuit. They can also help you to bring a lawsuit against someone—for example, a resident who leaves owing you money.
Every site needs to come up with a policy on what records must be kept and how long they must be kept. Such policies will vary from state to state, as record retention often depends on how long state law allows people to sue someone before the lawsuit is time-barred—that is, how long the statute of limitations is for a lawsuit.
To make sure your staff keeps records for the right amount of time, give them a memo instructing them on what to do. For a Model Memo: Give Staff Memo on Keeping Records, which you can adapt and distribute to your staff, see “What Documents to Keep to Protect Site in Legal Disputes,” available to subscribers here.