Living With An HOA And CC&Rs (OR)

When you’re looking to buy a home in Central Oregon, one term you’re likely to encounter is “Homeowners Association.” Another critical element tied to HOAs is Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. These play crucial roles in shaping residential communities, impacting everything from property aesthetics to neighborly relations. People are often split opinion-wise on whether they like […]

Navigating the Challenges of a Hard Insurance Market

As board members of a homeowners association (HOA), it is crucial to stay informed about the ever-changing dynamics of insurance markets. These markets can fluctuate between being hard or soft, which directly impacts the premiums and coverage options available to your community. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between hard and soft […]

Food production in HOAs (OR)

Egg prices were so high in some states at the beginning of 2023 that some people started joking about buying live chickens instead. This way, they could have a personal supply of eggs. But homeowners living in Oregon may soon get that opportunity if they really wanted to try farming their own eggs.   Read the […]

HOAs Must Understand Use and Power of Contracts

The board of directors in a homeowners association (HOA) is responsible for the functionality and governance of the community. One of the powers and duties delegated to the board of directors is the power to negotiate and enter into contracts, which is highly significant to the operation and bylaws of an HOA.   Read the article………………………..

How far will you go to reduce your wildfire risk?

No one wants to lose their home in a wildfire. But what pushes people to act beforehand to protect their property — to cut down overgrown shrubs around decks, prune low-hanging tree branches or clear dead leaves from gutters?   Read the article………………………..

Where and why more new homes are getting wrapped into homeowner associations

In the low-interest rate era that followed the 2008 housing crisis, real estate developers rushed to build housing stock to meet rising demand. Federal data suggests that nonprofit associations have been set up at an increasing rate to govern these new developments.  Read the article………………………..

Open Meetings In Oregon HOAs & Condos

Oregon homeowners associations and condominium unit owners associations are subject to open meetings laws. The laws are found in ORS 94.640 for planned communities, and ORS 100.420 for condominiums. However, each of those statutes was amended by the legislature in 2021 by the adoption of Senate Bill 329. The rules for Oregon planned communities and […]

Receiverships in HOAs and Condos (OR)

Volunteering to serve on the Board of a Community Association can, unfortunately, often feel like a thankless job. In many cases, conflict among the Directors, or between owners and the Board, can make service to the community an extremely stressful experience. Several of our clients have reported that they are finding it difficult to recruit […]

Deadline Approaching for Community Association Anti-Discrimination Review (OR)

As the end of the year fast approaches, community associations should ensure compliance with the new requirements in HB 2534 to remove discriminatory provisions from governing documents. The deadline for compliance is December 31, 2022. The requirement, adopted in House Bill 2534 in the 2021 legislative session, includes specific anti-discrimination laws and requires communities to […]

What is a Reserve Study and Why Does Your Community Need One?

The financial health of a community and planning for long-term projects is critically important to any homeowner’s association (HOA). In fact, it is so important, a term was created for it: “reserve study.” And while the term “reserve study” probably isn’t anything new if you serve or have ever served on an HOA board, many […]

It Ain’t What It Used to Be: 5 Tips for Managing the Bidding Process (OR)

In the wake of pandemic delays and a new focus on deferred maintenance since the Surfside tragedy, many associations have significant projects to bid out to contractors. But the process has changed in the past couple of years. Read on for advice on navigating it effectively.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Oregon Court of Appeals Addresses Conversion of Golf Course Land to Residential Subdivision Over Protest of Homeowners Association

In desirable areas of the Pacific Northwest, including Portland, Seattle, and Central Oregon, disputes and concerns relating to land development, lack of developable property within urban growth boundaries, and the effects thereof on supply and demand of homes and home prices have taken center stage.1   Read the entire article……………………………….

Are Rentals Allowed in an HOA? (WA/OR)

Rentals are a hot button issue for many associations this year. Recent rent increases exceeded 16-year highs, and the number of single family rentals increased by more than 10% over the last year. Given these numbers, it’s no wonder a lot of homeowners are wondering “Can I rent out my home if it’s part of […]

What’s the Difference Between HOA Bylaws and CC&Rs?

If you buy a home in a planned community, you’ll most likely have to become part of a homeowner association (HOA). An HOA is a legal non-profit entity filed with the state that is responsible for managing and maintaining the assets of the community (i.e., the appearance of the homes and properties as well as […]

7 Ways Boards Can Help Homeowners Follow HOA Rules

There’s a fine line between enforcement of rules and fostering community bonds. Often homeowners will perceive Board Members as being too harsh and unruly when enforcement is too strict or communication is poor. Boards may sometimes become exhausted with having to deal with owners breaking rules repeatedly. When problems arise, and one particular rule/regulation is […]

Governing Documents of a Community Association

The term ‘governing documents’ refers to a host of documents, some of which are recorded, some which are filed with the state, and others are merely distributed to owners. In general, governing documents include: the Declaration/CC&Rs, Bylaws, Plat, Articles of Incorporation, and Rules/Regulations/Resolutions.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Architectural Guidelines in Oregon & Washington HOAs

Many community associations are governed by architectural design guidelines. Often, those guidelines are enforced by an architectural review committee (sometimes called architectural control committees or architectural design committees). The guidelines allow owners to know what types of changes require approval, acceptable materials and colors, and the process to appeal a decision.    Read the entire article……………………………….

Assessment Offsets in Oregon HOAs

It is a problem we see often in our office. An owner withholds paying HOA assessments on the grounds that the Association is somehow failing to perform its duties and obligations under the governing documents. Although their actions may seem justified, owners need to understand that these withholdings are not allowed under Oregon law, and […]

5 Easy Tips to Keep HOA Board Meetings Concise

Successful HOA board meetings are inclusive, timely, and respectful. But unfortunately, board meetings can often last much longer than everyone anticipated, which can be frustrating for everyone. Here are 5 tips to help keep your meetings concise.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Important Oregon Legislation Update: Electronic Meetings Now Law

The Oregon Legislature enrolled SB 329, making electronic meetings law……… “Electronic Meeting” means a meeting that is conducted through telephone, teleconference, video conference, web conference or any other live electronic means where at least one participant is not physically present.Read the entire article……………………………….

Oregon SB 329 (Electronic Meetings) Now Law

Today the Governer signed into law SB 329. This bill authorizes Oregon HOAs to continue to conduct electronic meetings, including special meetings of the owners and annual meetings.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Oregon Supreme Court Smacks Down Lending Practices That Hurt Community Associations

During the last real estate meltdown one of the biggest problems was that banks who financed purchases of condominiums were not foreclosing and in essence leaving the community association “hanging out to dry.” The State of Oregon addressed these dirty lending practices with some powerful legislation.   Read the entire article……………………………….

Reading The CC&Rs Is An Essential Task In The Homebuying Process (OR)

Covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) are generally not considered to be scintillating reading material. While it’s a laborious task, it’s a crucial part of the homebuying process when considering purchasing a home in a planned community. Planned development communities can come with many perks, such as neighborhood parks, trail systems, pools, tennis courts and clubhouses. […]

Oregon Supreme Court Holds that Condo Association Takes Priority over Lender

The Oregon Supreme Court recently held that a condo association’s lien for unpaid assessments took priority over a bank’s lien because the bank failed to initiate foreclosure proceedings within 90 days of the condo association’s notice concerning a condo owner’s default.  Read the article……………………………………..

Update: Collections During a Pandemic (OR/WA)

Many associations have inquired whether they can take any collections action during this pandemic. Neither Federal or Washington or Oregon State laws, prohibit an association from sending delinquency notice letters, recording liens, or filing lawsuits.   Read the article…………………………..

Do You Have to Join an HOA?

You’ve found the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, for the perfect price. But then you find out it’s in an HOA and you will be charged a monthly fee. Perhaps this isn’t what you had in mind and you don’t really know much about what HOAs are all about. You may have heard stories […]

Indemnity and Hold Harmless Provisions in Association Contracts

Condominium and homeowner associations frequently enter into contracts with third-parties. Examples include landscaping contracts, management contracts, and construction contracts. In order to protect the interests of the association, many community association attorneys include indemnity provisions in the contract. Here’s a common example of an indemnity provision:   Read the article………………………….

Applying the Oregon Planned Community Act

The Oregon Planned Community Act (ORS Chapter 94) was adopted in the early 1980s. The Act applies to any subdivision where the owners have collective obligations. Collective obligations include maintaining common property or paying assessments that are used for association operations. A community may be subject to ORS Chapter 94 even if created prior to […]

Withholding Assessments Won’t Work

Sometimes community residents become dissatisfied with the association for some reason. In this case, let’s use maintaining the parking lot as an example. Mr. Homeowner is unhappy because several small potholes have appeared in the parking lot, and the association hasn’t repaired them. He called the manager who said that all potholes will be repaired […]

Using Proxies in Community Associations

Oregon and Washington law authorize the use of proxies unless prohibited by the governing documents. (RCW 24.03.085, ORS 65.231) Many condominium and homeowner associations find it impossible to achieve quorum at annual meetings without the use of proxies.  A proxy is a power of attorney between the “proxy giver” and the “proxy holder”. The proxy […]

How Long Do Oregon HOA Liens Last?

Homeowner associations in Oregon are governed by the Planned Community Act, ORS Chapter 94. Under that statute, homeowner associations have an “automatic” lien on any lot that is delinquent on assessments or dues. The automatic lien exists without filing or recording a traditional paper lien in the county records.  That said, in the event that […]

Forming an Oregon HOA

Many (mostly older) Oregon subdivisions have recorded CC&Rs, but no homeowners association to enforce or administer those CC&Rs. The Oregon Planned Community Act, ORS Chapter 94, lays out a procedure to form a homeowners association in certain types of subdivisions. The process is described in ORS 94.574. Here’s a summary:    Read the article…………………………..

Amending Governing Documents (OR)

Amending your condominium or homeowners association governing documents is no easy chore. It can be a long and costly process, and even then, you may not receive enough votes to approve the amendments. The process of amending goes like this:    Read the article…………………………

Misadventures in Rulemaking

Arguably the most challenging task a community association board of directors can undertake is drafting rules and regulations for their community. Good intentions, but bad drafting, can lead to unanticipated results and make enforcement difficult or impossible.    Read the article………………………

Security & Privacy Meet in the Hallway

Incorporating technology into our homes is big, big business in the Unites States. Where once we were clapping at our lamps, now we can control virtually everything inside and outside of the home with the sound of our voice or apps on our phones. As part of this growing trend, video doorbells have become immensely […]

What is Design Review, and Why Do I Need It?

Have you ever been walking through a neighborhood, looked at a house, and said to yourself, “Boy, am I glad that is not my neighbor!”? The likelihood is all of us have done this at some point…maybe the paint scheme was a tad “out there,” the yard was not quite maintained, or maybe it just […]

Insurance Industry Responds, and Owners May Pay the Price

Events of casualty damage, even when some of the damage is covered by an association’s insurance policy, can be very expensive for condominium and homeowners associations, primarily because association insurance deductibles are typically tens of thousands of dollars per claim. The deductible expense is really just the portion of the cost to repair that is […]

No, You Don’t Own Your Condo Parking Spot

A relatively common request fielded by condominium associations is from owners wanting to sell their parking spot to another owner. While many owners may believe they own their parking space, parking spaces are almost universally classified as limited common elements that are assigned to a particular unit. While this means unit owners have many of […]

Update on the Infamous Open Garage Door Rule

On January 25, 2018, I blogged about an HOA in Auburn, California that passed a rule requiring all of its owners to leave their garage doors open during the day. The goal of the rule was to prevent owners from using their garages as living spaces. The patently overbroad rule—which, in effect, would render residents’ […]

Code RED

I was recently participating in a mediation for a client condominium association. We are pursuing a first party insurance claim for property damage discovered by the client. Due to the amount of repairs necessary for the project, the client triggered certain code upgrades required by the County and fire department. The upgrades were both unexpected […]

The Power of the ARC

As reported recently in the CAI Law Reporter, the end of 2017 saw a number of state courts rule on the powers of architectural review committees (or “ARCs” for short).  In CB Investments v. Murphy and Weber v. Board of Directors of Laurel Oaks Association, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, […]

What do Your Rules Say about Your Community?

A lot has been said about community association rules, but most of these discussions center on the content of the rules as opposed to the overall language used or impression the rules give to owners within the community. Yet, there is another aspect of rules to consider. A good set of rules conveys not only […]

Lien for Unpaid Assessments (OR)

Under Oregon state law, condominium associations and homeowner associations have an automatic lien against the unit or lot for unpaid assessments. In Washington, a condominium association has a lien on a unit for any unpaid assessments levied against a unit from the time the assessment is due. Unfortunately for Washington homeowner’s associations, the state law […]

Elevator Pitch

I recently read an article published by U.S. News & World Report titled, How to Win a Fight With your Condo Association – Without Going Broke by Teresa Mears. The article includes some solid guidance. A more accurate but less flashy title might have been – How to influence Association Policy – Without a Fight.  […]