June 29, 2022

Washington Court of Appeals Rejects Owner's "Right to Surveil" Claim

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled in a recent unpublished opinion that a homeowner who was bound by a protection order did not have the constitutional due process right to surveil his neighbors' allegedly illegal activity by photographing and videotaping them. The Court first noted that protecting citizens from harassment is a compelling state interest. It then pointed out that RCW 10.14.080(6)(b) authorizes a court to prohibit a harasser from making any attempts to keep the victim under surveillance.

There are several state laws that may be invoked by any person suffering from unlawful harassment. The primary remedy under those laws is a protection order limiting the harasser's contact with the victim. If that order is violated, then the harasser is subject to additional civil and criminal penalties.

If a community association receives a complaint from an owner that they are being subjected to unlawful harassment, then it should consult an attorney to determine whether such harassment is occurring and, if so, what actions the association should take to address that misconduct.