June 28, 2013

Two New Laws Affect Washington Community Associations

Almost every session of the Washington Legislature produces new laws pertaining to Washington condominium and homeowners associations.  This legislative session resulted in the passage of two such laws - one governing speed limit enforcement and one governing meeting notices.

Washington homeowners associations have had the power to establish and enforce speeding rules on private roads within their communities since 2003.  There are four conditions associated with the exercise of that power: 

1. A majority of the association's board of directors must vote to authorize the issuance of speeding infractions and to declare a speed limit not lower than twenty miles per hour;
2. A written agreement regarding speeding enforcement must be signed by the association president and the chief law enforcement official of the city or county;

3. The association must provide written notice to all owners describing the new authority to issue speeding infractions; and

4. Signs must be posted declaring the speed limit at all vehicle entrances to the community.

The first new law grants Washington condominium associations the power to establish and enforce speeding rules on private roads subject to those conditions as well.

The Washington Homeowners' Associations Act (RCW 64.38) requires those associations to follow certain procedures when notifying owners of association meetings.  Electronic notice was not mentioned in the original Act.  The second new law amends the Act to permit Washington homeowners associations to notify owners of association meetings using electronic transmissions.  Owners must first opt in to electronic notice by delivering a written notice to the Association requesting to receive notices by electronic transmission.  

The second new law does not affect Washington condominium associations.  The laws specifically governing those associations still lack any reference to electronic notice. 

Both new laws take effect on July 28, 2013.