September 23, 2021

Residential Use Covenant Held to Take Precedence Over Zoning Authorization

The Washington Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion concerning the use of real property earlier this month.  The Court ruled that a subdivision's restrictive covenant mandating residential use of property took precedence over a county's authorization for an owner to use its property for nonresidential purposes.  The Court pointed out that "enforcement of public zoning laws and private restrictive covenants are distinct processes" and concluded that "[t]he fact that Jabco obtained approval for nonresidential use of its property through the county's zoming procedures does not mean that it was entitled to disregard restrictions contemplated by private covenant."

Covenant enforcement can lead to costly litigation and significant liability. If your Washington community association becomes involved in a covenant enforcement dispute, then it should consider contacting an attorney with experience in that practice area.