November 28, 2023

Court Upholds Association's Decision to Refrain from Enforcing Covenant

In a recent unpublished Washington Court of Appeals opinion, a lot owner had sued his homeowners association and contended that it had a duty to take certain actions with regard to parking enforcement. The appellate court disagreed with that contention on several grounds, one of them being that the declaration of covenants states that the Association has the power to enforce it but is not required to do so. The court observed as follows: 

"When a homeowners’ association makes a discretionary decision in a procedurally valid manner, we must not substitute our judgment for that of the homeowners’ association unless there is fraud, dishonesty, or incompetence .... The supreme court noted that this rule was necessary to insulate homeowner associations from being subjected to lawsuits anytime a homeowner disagreed with a discretionary choice made by the Board."

If your community association board has questions about the nature and scope of its covenant enforcement powers and duties, then it should consider retaining a qualified attorney to provide clarity.