Resale Certificates

A resale certificate is a document that a unit owner must provide to the purchaser before they can sell their condominium unit. Any unit owner who wishes to sell his or her unit needs to be aware of the resale certificate requirements. These requirements apply to all Washington condominiums.

The resale certificate must contain certain information, which is set forth in detail in RCW 64.34.425, part of the Washington Condominium Act.  This section of the Condo Act applies to both old act (Horizontal Property Regimes Act, RCW 64.32) and new act (Condominium Act, RCW 64.34) condos.

In brief, the certificate must inform a purchaser of, among other things, the financial status of the association (including the budget); any dues still owed by the unit’s current owner; the amounts of assessments, dues, and fees that must be paid by owners within the community; copies of the community’s governing documents; and information about any reserve studies (or, just as important, the lack of reserve studies). It is important that the association’s board of directors familiarize themselves with and be prepared to comply with the statutory requirements.

The information contained in the certificate must be accurate, based on the information contained in the books and records of the association. (This is one reason why it is essential for associations to keep detailed financial records – the financial records must be detailed enough to comply with the extensive requirements of RCW 64.34.425.) If the association is discussing or planning significant repairs or maintenance, that information should also be disclosed to the purchaser.

Despite the fact that the law requires a unit owner to provide the resale certificate to their buyer, the certificate must be signed by an officer or agent of the association. Once a unit owner requests the certificate from the association, it must be provided within 10 days.

It is important to note that once the resale certificate has been provided, the legal rights of the former and new owner are affected. For instance, the purchaser’s liability for unpaid assessments or fees against the unit can be limited. Also, the purchaser may void the sale until the certificate has been provided, and for up to 5 days after that, or until conveyance of the unit.

The resale certificate requirement is not a unit owner’s only obligation to potential purchasers. Many other laws apply to both sellers and purchasers of condo units. You may wish to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

If you have any questions we can answer, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly.  We look forward to continuing this conversation with you in our future posts!

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9 Responses to Resale Certificates
  1. Quorum
    November 7, 2012 | 7:57 pm

    Thank you for this article. I would like to know something; Is it that at Washington, all condos are non-smoking? In Montreal, a lot of condo projects are beginning to ban smoking. This is currently a big debate among owners of condos.

  2. Valerie Farris Oman
    November 7, 2012 | 8:30 pm

    Smoking is not banned in all condos in Washington; however, many condo association are moving in that direction. Banning smoking in a condo association requires adopting an amendment to the declaration for that association, which can sometimes be difficult to pass.
    Valerie Farris Oman recently posted..When Board Members Go Rogue

  3. Scott
    June 18, 2013 | 7:02 pm

    When a “seller” doesn’t sign a resale certificate (corporate seller) but DOES provide one, does it make the sale voidable?

  4. Valerie Farris Oman
    June 19, 2013 | 6:42 pm

    Hello Scott,

    RCW 64.34.425 governs the resale of condo units, including resale certificates. Subsection (3) states that a purchase and sale agreement is voidable for 5 days after the resale certificate is provided, or until the time of conveyance.

    If the sale has already taken place, it is probably not voidable. If the sale has not yet taken place, you should consult with an attorney to explore your options. Whether the “seller” signs the resale certificate is likely not the deciding factor in whether the sale is voidable.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Sherry Tiddy
    March 17, 2014 | 7:30 pm

    I am purchasing a condo and just received the resale cert and my agent wants me to sign a copy of the cert. Is this required?

  6. Ann Green
    April 30, 2014 | 2:08 am

    If inaccurate information is provided in a resale certificate and this is not discovered until after the sale is completed, what recourse is available to a buyer and for how long?

  7. Valerie Farris Oman
    May 14, 2014 | 5:03 pm

    Hi Sherry,

    While I am not aware of any requirement that a buyer sign a resale certificate, I do wonder – what’s the harm? If the request is for you to sign it to acknowledge receipt, that seems reasonable.

  8. Erwin Rommel
    May 20, 2014 | 4:38 am

    I am in the process of purchasing a condo, but when I read the RCW i see that many things are missing in the documents, including a document signed by an officer or authorized agent of the association.

    In fact there is current litigation in the appeals court, but very little information on the actual case or the disposition before it was taken to the appeals court. My only assumption is that it was taken to the appeals court when the decision came down opposed to the wishes of the condo association.

    Are the documents provided to me enough to be considered a resale certificate, even though there are several pieces of information missing?

    I don’t believe they are and I don’t believe they have provided me with the documents in the 10 day time period since they are incomplete.
    Thank you for your time

  9. Valerie Farris Oman
    May 20, 2014 | 9:58 pm

    Erwin, the question you are asking is too specific for me to answer in this forum, where we cannot give legal advice. If you are concerned about what you’ve received with the resale certificate, I recommend you consult with your real estate agent and/or an attorney experienced with condo law. Good luck!

    Ann – The answer to your question would depend on what information was omitted and whether the omission was intentional or by mistake. The sale probably can’t be undone, but it is possible that, if you have actual damages, you might have recourse in your situation. Unfortunately, again, this is the kind of scenario where you can’t find an answer via general blog questions/answers, and you’ll want to take your situation to a condo attorney for some advice. Good luck to you!

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