August 27, 2013

Washington Condos and HOAs in the News

Community associations are regularly featured in the media. Sometimes the news is positive (community-building grants), sometimes the news is negative (a lawsuit over an amendment’s validity), and sometimes the news is both positive and negative (debate and conflict over clotheslines). recently included an article about two homeowners associations in Fairwood, Washington that received grants to support their summer "Concerts in the Park" series.  During 2013, King County will award $60,000 in grants for community projects in unincorporated areas. The article about these grants can be read here.

A Spokane condominium is currently embroiled in a legal battle over the validity of changes to its governing documents. Officers of the condominium association modified the agreement in 2008 to create additional condominium units out of roof space, which shrank the voting rights of other members and gave away common property without notifying the owners or conducting a vote. A lawsuit has been filed challenging the validity of this amendment. A Spokesman-Review article about this lawsuit can be read here.

Some Washington condominium and homeowners associations prohibit the use of clotheslines, citing safety or aesthetic concerns. However, owners are increasingly advocating for a right to use clotheslines as an energy and cost-saving alternative to electric dryers.  A recent article in the Seattle Times about this clothesline debate can be read here

August 19, 2013

Summertime Community Building

Interactions between owners in condominium and homeowners associations are all too often characterized by animosities, grievances, and recriminations. An association’s efforts to cultivate better relations between neighbors can minimize that destructive pattern. Here are five simple ways to foster relationships and build community:

1. Place picnic tables in common areas.

2. Schedule potluck dinners, movie nights, and book clubs.
3. Create garden spaces and invite owner participation.

4. Call meetings to discuss emergency preparedness and other topics.

5. Distribute newsletters (and include humor whenever possible).

The sunny days of summer are a great time to start encouraging more goodwill in your association.  Good luck!

August 7, 2013

My Office Now Offers Post-Judgment Collection Services

Creditors often obtain judgments against persons who owe them money in small claims court without hiring attorneys.  Consider this common scenario: a landlord seeks a small claims judgment against a tenant who failed to pay rent, the tenant does not appear for the hearing, and the landlord is awarded a judgment.  The landlord is now faced with a more difficult problem: how does he or she collect the judgment amount?

I am pleased to announce that my office now offers post-judgment collection services to individuals and businesses. We can assist creditors in locating real property, filing judgment liens, and garnishing bank accounts and wages.  In addition, once contact has been made with the judgment debtor, we are sometimes able to negotiate settlements and payment plans without resorting to harsh collection remedies.  

If you have obtained a judgment and don't know what to do next, then you should consider contacting my office. We may be able to help you collect your money.