January 31, 2013

How Will Laws Governing Washington Community Associations Change in 2013?

A number of bills relating to condominium and homeowners associations have already been submitted for consideration during the current session of the Washington Legislature.  Three of those proposed laws merit special attention thus far.   

The first proposed law applies to homeowners associations governed by RCW 64.38.  It is designed to limit the ability of homeowners association boards to raise revenue without a vote of the owners.  Boards of such associations would be permitted to increase regular assessments up to twenty percent per year, impose a special assessment of up to five percent of the annual budget, or do both without a vote of the owners.     

The second proposed law also applies to homeowners associations governed by RCW 64.38.  It is designed to allow such associations to provide meeting notices by electronic mail.  Homeowners associations would be permitted to electronically transmit meeting notices to an address designated in writing by an owner unless that owner provides the association with a written request not to receive notices by electronic transmission.     

The third proposed law applies to condominium associations governed by RCW 64.34.  It is designed to allow many such associations to annually update their reserve studies themselves.  A condominium association with fewer than fifty units would be permitted, by a majority vote of the owners, to elect to have the board update the reserve study annually after the association has had one reserve study conducted by a reserve study professional.

Further updates about these bills and other proposed laws relating to Washington community associations will be provided here as events develop.  The legislative session is just getting started, and additional bills regarding smoking, electronic board meetings, and quorums are anticipated.

January 10, 2013

New Procedures for a New Year?

The beginning of each year is an appropriate time to recall that, in the sage words of Steppenwolf, it’s never too late to start all over again. The status quo can almost always be improved. The interplay between the fresh perspective of newly elected board members and the perspective of the more experienced board members often leads to new ideas and better community governance. Attorneys who focus on representing condominium and homeowners associations can help boards evaluate whether their documents and practices are in need of adjustment.