January 2, 2019

Homeowners Associations Ruled Jointly Obligated to Maintain Pond

After examining the relevant plats and agreements, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled last month that two homeowners associations are jointly obligated to maintain a stormwater drainage pond.  The relevant documents were viewed to complement one other in a manner that established that shared obligation.  This case demonstrates that community associations must carefully evaluate their governing documents and agreements (and sometimes other associations' governing documents and agreements as well) when a dispute arises regarding maintenance obligations.                        

December 31, 2018

A License Is Required to Pursue Collection of Delinquent Assessments in Washington

Washington law requires individuals and entities who pursue the collection of delinquent condominium assessments to obtain a collection agency license and to maintain a $5,000 surety bond. The activities of collection agencies are subject to state regulation and oversight. Your association should ensure that any individual or entity that it uses to collect delinquent assessments is a properly licensed and bonded collection agency.    

November 26, 2018

New Law Regulates Abandoned, Mid-Foreclosure, and Nuisance Properties

The Washington Legislature approved a new law earlier this year regulating residential properties that are abandoned, mid-foreclosure, or nuisances.  The new law authorizes counties, cities, and towns to take possession of such properties and abate nuisances associated with them if mortgage holders fail to do so after being notified. If Washington community associations encounter problems from abandoned, mid-foreclosure, or nuisance properties, then they can now ask their counties, cities, and towns to address those problems pursuant to this new law.  

October 31, 2018

WA Court: HOAs May Record Liens Without Providing Owners With Notice and Hearing

Happy Halloween!  Collecting past due assessments can certainly be scary sometimes. After one homeowners association recorded a lien on a delinquent property and obtained a judgment against its owners, they appealed to the Washington Court of Appeals.  The court ruled that the association was permitted to record the lien without providing the owners with notice and an opportunity to be heard.  

The court first pointed out that Washington law only requires homeowners associations to provide owners with notice and an opportunity to be heard before they impose fines for violating the governing documents and otherwise grants those associations discretion to establish their procedures within their governing documents. Since the governing documents of the association allow it to record a lien for delinquent assessments without notice and an opportunity to be heard, the court ruled that it may do so. The court concluded by noting that the owners were not deprived of their right to due process because the lien was based on a binding contractual agreement between them and the association (the recorded covenants).