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New FHA Rules to Create New Association Duties

On September 13, HUD released new rules for the Fair Housing Act (FHA) that will impact community associations. Under these new rules, which take effect on October 14, 2016, a community association could face liability for the discriminatory acts of

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The Business Judgment Rule

Community Association board members frequently ask, “What is the standard we’re held to when we vote and make decisions?” The standard of conduct in Oregon and Washington is colloquially known as the “Business Judgment Rule.” Application of the Business Judgment

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Court Rejects Condominium Owner’s Attempt to Invalidate Assessments (WA)

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment denial of a condominium owner’s legal challenges to the assessments charged to his unit.    Read the article……………

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Associations Not Required to Disclose Privileged Information

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that the Maryland Condominium Act did not require disclosure of information related to legal advice or attorney work product (privileged information) to owners. Although this case was decided in Maryland, and it is

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Is Short-Term Leasing a “Commercial Use”?

In Houston v. Wilson Mesa Ranch Homeowners Association, Inc., the Colorado Court of Appeals held that short-term rentals did not violate a covenant prohibiting commercial use of a unit. However, this ruling did not indicate that all restrictions on short-term

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Business Judgment Rules does not Apply to Unauthorized Acts

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that association board decisions must be evaluated individually to see if the business judgment rule applied, and the business judgment rule did not apply when the board acted beyond its authority. Although this case

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The Blame Game

Most of us can be quick to point fingers. It might be a fender-bender, an overcooked hamburger, or losing the Superbowl on the last play of the game – I know my first instinct is to figure out who is

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Insurance Discovery Rule

I have a number of “First Party Insurance” claims sitting on my desk (e.g. an Association pursuing its own carrier for discovered property damage). Many of these involve the “discovery rule.” Having dealt with this rule on a number of

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Just Dues

One of the unavoidable realities of being an owner at a condominium association is the obligation to pay membership dues. Typically, a condominium’s board of directors will levy an annual assessment based on a budget that has been ratified by

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Why So Few Condos in Seattle (Part 2)

In last week’s post, we discussed the data and hard numbers supporting the influx of apartment buildings over condominium projects in the Puget Sound region. We concluded simple economics-maximizing profit-was the reason the large number of cranes in Seattle and

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Why So Few Condos in Seattle (Part 1)

The record-setting number of cranes visible in the Seattle and Bellevue skylines reflect a construction boom that began in earnest in 2015. Companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and other IT darlings are hiring like crazy. Like San Francisco, Seattle

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Now Might be a Good Time for an Association Loan

Interest rates have never been better. As a result, many owners have jumped at the chance to refinance their homes or condos at seriously low rates. Yet, individual owners are not the only ones who can benefit from these low

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Unintended Consequences (WA)

One of the main takeaways from the Washington Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bilanko v. Barclay Court is that a declaration amendment that is adopted in a manner that does not exceed its legal authority and and does not appear

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Understanding Easements

Easements are very common in condominium and homeowner associations throughout Oregon and Washington. Simply put, an easement is the right of someone to use or access the property of another.    Read the article…………

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Bilanko v. Barclay Court Owners Association

In last week’s post “Hot Off the Press,” we advised readers that the Washington Supreme Court published on that day Bilanko v. Barclay Court Owners Association,an important decision relating to challenges to declaration amendments involving Washington “New Act” condominiums. The

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Washington Supreme Court Issues Bilanko v. Barclay Court Opinion: 4/28/16

Bilanko is the most recent addition to the ongoing saga in Washington law and the enforceability of condominium declaration amendments under the WCA (RCW 64.34). Bilanko involved a homeowner challenge to the enforceability of a declaration amendment that restricted unit

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(WA) Supreme Court Decides Bilanko – Upholds Rental Cap That Was Challenged Too Late

The Washington State Supreme Court has just issued its much anticipated ruling in Bilanko v. Barclay Court, dismissing a rental cap lawsuit an owner filed more than one year after the rental cap amendment had been recorded. This decision protects

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Can a Board Member be Excluded From an Executive Session? (WA)

The Washington Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that a homeowners association director who is opposing the board on an issue and is likely to file a lawsuit against the association is not entitled to legal advice from the association’s

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Association Required to Provide Names and Addresses of Delinquent Owners

The Kansas Court of Appeals held that Kansas law requires a homeowners association to disclose the names and addresses of delinquent homeowners. Although this case was decided in Kansas, it could be an indication of how a Washington court might

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Changes Coming in FHA Condominium Guidelines?

If you’re a listener to “Condo and HOA Buzz” you heard over the past two weeks that Congress recently passed a bill that includes important provisions affecting all condominiums in the country. On February 2, 2016, HR 3700 was approved

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Washington Court of Appeals Resolves Road Maintenance Agreement Dispute

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled in a published opinion last month that a road maintenance agreement did not create a homeowners’ association. It also ruled that a majority of lot owners did not have the authority to amend that

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Explosions in the Sky

Setting off fireworks is a bright, colorful way to celebrate certain special occasions. While most commonly associated with the 4th of July, it is not unusual for people to set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve and other holidays, as

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Deciphering Association Records Requests

This past weekend I spoke at the Community Association Institute’s (“CAI”) South Sound Law Day on the topic of association records. Based on the number of questions from the audience on owner requests to obtain or review records, I thought

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Marijuana in Communities

We are often asked whether a condominium association may prohibit cigarette smoking in common areas, or in units or single family homes. Now that using marijuana is legal in Oregon and Washington, some associations are wondering if they can or

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Common Sense Prevails: State of Collapse Nonexistent Thirteen Years before Discovery of Decay

For years, property insurance policies that exclude rot damage have been called upon to cover rot because the policies extend coverage to “collapse”—an undefined term—caused by hidden decay, even if the structure remains standing and in use.  Read the article………..

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Discrimination Against College Students Legal?

A South Carolina court upheld a condominium restriction prohibiting rentals to college students. The ruling of a South Carolina court in not binding in Washington, but it demonstrates how a Washington court may decide a similar issue.   Read the article……….

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New Lending Guidelines Making It Tough on Some Condo Buyers- Condo HOAs and Owners You Can Help

A recent article in the Seattle Times, discussing buyer’s challenges with loan guideline changes, reminded me of the importance of HOA and condo buildings doing their best to stay viable and eligible for FHA, VA and Fannie Mae approvals not

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“Getting away” in an HOA: What can associations do about vacation rentals? (WA)

Vacation rentals are incredibly popular today. They provide extra income to homeowner “hosts” and inexpensive accommodations to vacationing “guests,” but can impose unwanted burdens on community associations. What can associations do to address these burdens?    Read the article………..

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Member E-mail Addresses & Phone Numbers Subject to Disclosure?

A Utah court recently ruled that under the Utah Nonprofit Corporation Act an association is not obligated to provide a member with the email addresses and phone numbers of other members. Although this case was decided by a Utah court

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Are Management Companies Debt Collectors?

A federal court in Indiana recently ruled that a management company is not a debt collector subject to the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA or “the act”) if the owner is not delinquent when the management company is

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2015 Case Law Review (WA)

Lawyers depend on case law to provide advice to homeowner and condominium associations. While cases in other states are not binding, they often provide guidance to lawyers and board members. The following is a short summary of cases from around

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Association Records Requests

It is common for issues between community associations and owners to escalate into disputes when there is a request by the owner to review association records. On the one hand, a board may not understand the obligation and elect to

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In Home Daycare Does Not Violate Ban on Commercial Activity

Recently, a court in Illinois ruled that two in-home daycare businesses did not create enough traffic to violate a use restriction prohibiting commercial activity in a subdivision. Although this case was decided by an Illinois court and is not binding

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Can’t We All Just Get Along?

There are certain situations in life that tend to bring out the worst in people, and one of those is when neighbors just cannot seem to get along. Whether at an HOA or condominium, when people of diverse personalities and

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Court’s Decision Compels Condominiums to Evaluate Validity of Leasing Restrictions (WA)

Condominiums created on or before July 1, 1990 are governed by the Washington Horizontal Property Regimes Act. The Washington Condominium Act (WCA) governs condominiums created after July 1, 1990.    Read the article……………

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Government Affairs Alert

The Amateur Radio Parity Act (S. 1685) is scheduled for mark-up in the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee today (November 18). Your Senator serves on the Senate Commerce Committee and it is very important he/she hears from you today to oppose

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Court Upholds Condominium Association Foreclosure that Extinguished Bank’s Lien (WA)

In late 2009, a Washington condominium association foreclosed on a first position lien for delinquent assessments and purchased the unit at a trustee’s sale for $8,818.17. Deutsche Bank, which had a junior lien on the unit for $240,000 that was

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The Great Carnac Would Have Been One Hell of an Insurance Agent

One of Johnny Carson’s greatest bits was when he donned a cape and turban and became the Great Carnac. The Great Carnac had the ability to divine answers to unknown questions. If the Great Carnac was real, he probably would

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What is the HOA Payoff Demand & Who Pays for it? (WA)

Client Question of the Week: “Escrow just called me and asked for a credit card to pay for an HOA Payoff Demand. What is this and who pays for this? Is it the same as the Resale Certificate I already

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Architectural Review Committees: When Silence is Not Golden

Although summer is the most popular season for construction and it is quickly coming to a close (I am not ready to admit it’s over), architectural review committees (“ARCs”) operate year-round to review and respond to architectural review committee applications.

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What Roger Goodell and the NFL Can Learn from HOAs

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman’s recent voiding of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension caused shockwaves across the NFL. Though the NFL has appealed the judicial ruling, Deflategate is, well, deflated and all but gone. There are, however,

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Association Record Inspection

Community associations often have voluminous records. Owners, who are members of the association, have a right to inspect and review those records. Financial records, meeting minutes, and governing documents are some of the items which constitute official “association records.” For

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Washington Court Affirms Homeowners Association’s Internal Procedures

A Washington appellate court recently ruled in an unpublished opinion that a Mason County homeowners association’s governing documents do not grant owners a general right to appeal the board’s decisions,    Read the article………..

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Requirements for Due Process Rules Enforcement Procedures for Condominium and Homeowners Associations

As a result of the Washington Condominium Act (RCW Chapter 64.34) (hereinafter referred to as the “WCA”) which became effective on July 1, 1990 and the Homeowners Association Act (RCW 64.38) (hereinafter referred to as the “HOAA”) which became effective

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An Update on Hoarding

A couple of years ago Barker Martin anticipated that hoarding would be an issue for community associations to contend with under laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act. [Link] Since then, the issue has continued to

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Overview of Collections and Foreclosures

Every homeowners and condominium association relies on assessments in order to operate. Assessments pay for insurance, maintenance, management, and other services necessary for an association to run properly. When owners don’t pay their assessments, the board has a duty to

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Recording Board Meetings

Audio or video recording of board meetings typically happens under two circumstances: 1) the secretary of the association records the meeting to assist with creating meeting minutes; and 2) an owner in the audience (without permission) records the meeting. Carefully

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Dealing With Renters in Community Associations

Most individuals in community associations fall into one of three categories: – Owner/Occupants: motivated to maintain value and foster relationships – Investor Owners: motivated by financial benefit; less regard for the quality of the community – Renters: Often view community

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Board Member Fiduciary Duties

When owners are elected or appointed to the board of directors, it’s critical to understand the importance of fiduciary duties. A fiduciary is a person “to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.” In homeowner and

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