Category Archives: Governing Documents

What are Limited Common Elements? Part Two

Limited common elements: spaces or things? “Limited common elements” can be spaces or things. Parking spots are an example of “spaces” that are frequently defined as “limited common elements” in an association’s Governing Documents. Parking spaces are essentially blocks of air surrounded by common elements and lines drawn on pavement. In most cases, the boundary…

What are Limited Common Elements? Part One

Under the New Act (RCW 64.34 et seq., Washington’s Condominium Act) and Old Act (RCW 64.32 et seq., the Horizontal Property Regimes Act), limited common elements or areas are defined as a subset of common elements or areas. Specifically, limited common elements are the portion of common elements (owned by everyone) that are designated in…

Smoking: Can an Association Ban Smoking? Part Two

Methods of enacting a no-smoking rule There are three ways we have seen clients enact (or attempt to enact) a no-smoking rule: 1)            Amendment to Declaration/CC&Rs: This method is likely the most difficult and costly way to enact a smoking ban, but it will be given the most deference by courts and be relatively strong…

Smoking: Can an Association Ban Smoking? Part One

An association may enact a rule banning smoking in common areas, and can probably ban it in individual units/homes as well. However, an association must consider several potential risks and benefits before enacting such a rule. We generally treat tobacco, marijuana, and vaping any substance the same way in adopting and enforcing community association rules….

Sex Offenders and Criminals: Can They Be Banned by a Community?

Associations generally have the right to regulate their communities. In Washington, this probably includes the right to ban registered sex offenders and other persons with criminal history from living in the community. However, an association’s right to evict existing occupants based on their status as a sex offender is less clear. In addition, associations considering…

Costs to Maintain Limited Common Elements Assessed to All Owners

A Washington Appeals court ruled that condos subject to the Horizontal Property Regimes Act (the “Old” condo Act; RCW 64.32) must assess repairs for limited common areas as common expenses against all owners based on their percentage ownership interest. The Act makes no exceptions to that rule. An association had assessed individual owners for repairs…

Procedure Matters

One piece of advice we often give our community association boards is that the procedure used by an association to take any given action is often more susceptible to challenge than the action itself. In other words, how you do things is often easier to attack – successfully – than the actual action taken by…

Court Defers to Association’s Interpretation of its Bylaws

The Washington Court of Appeals recently held that an association’s board of directors was validly constituted and properly passed bylaw amendments, so the board (and the management company as the board’s agent) had the authority to charge and collect fines and fees. Parker Estates Homeowners Ass’n v. Pattison, No. 47402-6-II, 2016 WL 7468226, at *1…

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 rentals are unenforceable. Although this case was decided in Colorado, and it is not binding…

Washington State Supreme Court Resurrects Rental Restrictions for Many Condo Associations

On April 28, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court issued an order in a case called Bilanko v. Barclay Court which, in effect, reverses its decision in Filmore v. Centre Pointe from 2015 – but only for associations that adopted their rental caps more than a year prior to them being challenged by any owner. RCW 64.34.264(2)…

Category Archives: Governing Documents

What are Limited Common Elements? Part Two

Limited common elements: spaces or things? “Limited common elements” can be spaces or things. Parking spots are an example of “spaces” that are frequently defined as “limited common elements” in an association’s Governing Documents. Parking spaces are essentially blocks of air surrounded by common elements and lines drawn on pavement. In most cases, the boundary…

What are Limited Common Elements? Part One

Under the New Act (RCW 64.34 et seq., Washington’s Condominium Act) and Old Act (RCW 64.32 et seq., the Horizontal Property Regimes Act), limited common elements or areas are defined as a subset of common elements or areas. Specifically, limited common elements are the portion of common elements (owned by everyone) that are designated in…

Smoking: Can an Association Ban Smoking? Part Two

Methods of enacting a no-smoking rule There are three ways we have seen clients enact (or attempt to enact) a no-smoking rule: 1)            Amendment to Declaration/CC&Rs: This method is likely the most difficult and costly way to enact a smoking ban, but it will be given the most deference by courts and be relatively strong…

Smoking: Can an Association Ban Smoking? Part One

An association may enact a rule banning smoking in common areas, and can probably ban it in individual units/homes as well. However, an association must consider several potential risks and benefits before enacting such a rule. We generally treat tobacco, marijuana, and vaping any substance the same way in adopting and enforcing community association rules….

Sex Offenders and Criminals: Can They Be Banned by a Community?

Associations generally have the right to regulate their communities. In Washington, this probably includes the right to ban registered sex offenders and other persons with criminal history from living in the community. However, an association’s right to evict existing occupants based on their status as a sex offender is less clear. In addition, associations considering…

Costs to Maintain Limited Common Elements Assessed to All Owners

A Washington Appeals court ruled that condos subject to the Horizontal Property Regimes Act (the “Old” condo Act; RCW 64.32) must assess repairs for limited common areas as common expenses against all owners based on their percentage ownership interest. The Act makes no exceptions to that rule. An association had assessed individual owners for repairs…

Procedure Matters

One piece of advice we often give our community association boards is that the procedure used by an association to take any given action is often more susceptible to challenge than the action itself. In other words, how you do things is often easier to attack – successfully – than the actual action taken by…

Court Defers to Association’s Interpretation of its Bylaws

The Washington Court of Appeals recently held that an association’s board of directors was validly constituted and properly passed bylaw amendments, so the board (and the management company as the board’s agent) had the authority to charge and collect fines and fees. Parker Estates Homeowners Ass’n v. Pattison, No. 47402-6-II, 2016 WL 7468226, at *1…

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 rentals are unenforceable. Although this case was decided in Colorado, and it is not binding…

Washington State Supreme Court Resurrects Rental Restrictions for Many Condo Associations

On April 28, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court issued an order in a case called Bilanko v. Barclay Court which, in effect, reverses its decision in Filmore v. Centre Pointe from 2015 – but only for associations that adopted their rental caps more than a year prior to them being challenged by any owner. RCW 64.34.264(2)…