October 22, 2013

Washington Homeowners Association Prevails in Pipe Maintenance Litigation

A recent unpublished opinion by the Washington Court of Appeals involved a dispute between the Crystal Ridge Homeowners Association and the City of Bothell over responsibility for a buried interceptor pipe.  When the pipe failed and caused flood damage, the Association sued the City, arguing that the pipe was the City's responsibility to maintain.  The trial court and the appellate court agreed with the Association.

The courts’ decisions were based on careful examination of the recorded plat for the Crystal Ridge development.  The courts concluded that the plat dedicated the pipe at issue to what was then unincorporated Snohomish County as part of a drainage easement.  This dedication made the City responsible for maintaining that pipe. 

Establishing maintenance obligations based on recorded documents can be a difficult task.  My office often helps homeowners associations understand what they are responsible to maintain and what others are responsible to maintain.