June 1, 2018

Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) Effective July 1

The Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) takes effect on July 1.  This new law applies to all condominium and homeowners associations created in Washington on or after that date.  The following section of WUCIOA applies to condominium and homeowners associations created in Washington before that date as well:

Section 326 Adoption of Budgets - Assessments and Special Assessments

(1)(a) Within thirty days after adopting of any proposed budget for the common interest community, the board must provide a copy of the budget to all the unit owners and set a date for a meeting of the unit owners to consider ratification of the budget not less than fourteen nor more than fifty days after providing the budget.  Unless at that meeting the unit owners of units to which a majority of the votes in the association are allocated or any larger percentage specified in the declaration reject the budget, the budget and the assessments against the units included in the budget are ratified, whether or not a quorum is present.  

(b) If the proposed budget is rejected or the required notice is not given, the periodic budget last ratified by the unit owners continues until the unit owners ratify a subsequent budget proposed by the board.

(2) The budget must include:

(a) The projected income to the association by category;

(b) The projected common expenses and those specially allocated expenses that are subjected to being budgeted, both by category;

(c) The amount of the assessments per unit and the date the assessments are due;

(d) The current amount of regular assessments budgeted for contribution to the reserve account;

(e) A statement of whether the association has a reserve study that meets the requirements of WUCIOA and, if so, the extent to which the budget meets or deviates from the recommendations of that reserve study; and

(f) The current deficiency or surplus in reserve funding expressed on a per unit basis.

(3) The board, at any time, may propose a special assessment.  The assessment is effective only if the board follows the procedures for ratification of a budget described in subsection (1) and the unit owners do not reject the proposed assessment.  The board may provide that the special assessment may be due and payable in installments over any period it determines and may provide a discount for early payment. 

Starting next month, all Washington condominium and homeowners associations must comply with these procedures when adopting their budgets.

April 9, 2018

Washington Court Upholds Homeowners Association's View Enforcement Decision

A Snohomish County homeowner recently proposed to increase the height of his roof by seven feet, which obstructed the view of Puget Sound from at least one neighboring house.  After the Picnic Point Homeowners Association denied his proposal, the homeowner sued.  The Court of Appeals ruled in a published opinion last month that the plain language of the covenants and the relevant extrinsic evidence supported the Association's enforcement decision.

The Association’s covenants state that “no structures, including fences, hedges or boundary walls, may be constructed or modified on any parcel to a height which would … obstruct the Puget Sound or park view of any other parcel.”  The appellate court held that this plainly prohibits any view obstruction, no matter how minimal.  The Court pointed out that permitting marginal obstructions would result in the gradual elimination of the views that the covenants are attempting to protect.