March 18, 2019

Parking and Storage Litigation Resolved in Favor of Condominium Association

The Washington Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of a condominium association in an unpublished opinion concerning the ownership of parking spaces and storage areas.  An owner came to believe that certain parking spaces and storage areas were appurtenant to his units.  The trial court concluded on summary judgment that the owner did not have a valid legal claim to those parking spaces and storage areas, and it went on to sanction the owner and his attorneys for filing a frivolous and meritless lawsuit.  The appellate court affirmed those decisions, noting that the owner was not able to demonstrate that an assignment of the relevant parking spaces and storage areas had ever occurred.                  

February 6, 2019

Failure to Prevent Transfer of Tree Debris Does Not Support a Nuisance Action

A married couple brought a nuisance action against their neighbors because debris from a tree on the latter's property caused staining on the former's property.  The trial court ruled that the married couple did not establish actionable nuisance (an unreasonable interference with another's use and enjoyment of property), and the Court of Appeals recently affirmed that ruling in an unpublished opinion.  The Court pointed out that a number of other courts, including the Washington Supreme Court in 1921(!), have indicated in past related cases that the failure of a landowner to prevent the blowing or dropping of leaves, branches, and sap from a healthy tree located wholly on his or her property onto a neighbor's property does not constitute a nuisance.  

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.