January 16, 2024

WA Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Association's Covenant Enforcement Action

The Washington Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s decision that a community association properly exercised its authority to enforce protective covenants requiring buildings to present a finished external appearance within one year and requiring members to keep their properties free of clutter and other unsightly structures and conditions. The Court noted that the property owner failed to install permanent roofing on his house and barn for over one year without good cause and kept piles of construction materials in places that were visible from the road. The Court concluded that the owner’s attempts to invalidate the enforcement action lacked merit and that the association had the right to remedy the covenant violations at issue. The owner was also required to pay the association’s attorney fees.

Enforcing governing documents sometimes requires litigation, and the owners in question usually attack their community association’s enforcement procedures both in general and as applied to them. Association boards that work with a qualified attorney can ensure that their enforcement procedures and actions are likely to survive such scrutiny.