May 29, 2017

Washington Court of Appeals Reverses Trial Court's Partition of Common Area

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled in an unpublished opinion last month that partition of a common area created by the deeds of four adjacent properties was not a remedy available to the trial court when the property owners could not agree about the use or maintenance of that common area. 

Each residential property owner in this case also owned an undivided one-fourth interest in a common area.  The Court held that the co-owners' equitable interests in the common area would be defeated if it were to be partitioned without the agreement of all four of them.  It then shifted to the central dispute regarding a tennis court on the common area - concluding that "[w]hether the tennis court is to be maintained or replaced, all owners are entitled to have the action taken in a reasonable and timely manner, overseen by the trial court if necessary." The Court emphasized that leaving the tennis court in a state of "perpetual disrepair" is not  an acceptable outcome.