HOA REFORM - PROPOSED LEGISLATION & RESOURCES

“I agree with the HOA reform suggestions by RiseUpwa and endorse them. I abhor most HOAs… the lack of transparency and over-reach is beyond any common sense. My friends and family have had such horrible experiences with HOAs. I understand the need for some oversight in urban settings - like condos.. but I still don’t like the personal agendas and abuse that happens”
Nansen Malin
Chair, Pacific County Republican Party

Other Supporters of our proposed legislative changes

  • Kerry French, 2020 Candidate for Washington House of Representatives District 33 Pos1
  • Marliza Melzer, 2020 Candidate for Washington House of Representatives District 33 Pos 2
  • Dan Driscoll, 2020 Candidate for Pacific County Commissioner, District 19
  • Michelle Darnell, CEO, Founder, Ignite Foundation LLC
  • Roger Flygare, Washington State Citizen Lobbyist and Court Reporter.
  • Patrick Johansen, Chairmen, HOA Reform Committee, RiseUp WA LLC, Ignite Foundation
  • Raelene Schifano, President, HOAFightClub
  • Steven Hoag, Seattle Citizen
  • Christopher King, Seattle Citizen

HOA Reform
Sign Our Petition

Please sign our petition, indicating you support:
HOA Reform
Foreclosure Reform
Affordable Housing
Property Rights
Keeping seniors in their homes
Helping  the vunerable keep their homes
Equal housing for people of color

by supporting the changes to the laws that we suggest on this page. 

HOA Reform - An Introduction

Prepared by Patrick Johansen, (Director) and Raelene Shiffano of RiseUpWA  Housing Committee.

We know there are many well run HOAs, however they are one Board election from becoming a dictatorial nightmare for the property owners. But we are concerned with the Boards that participate in illegal and unethical actions, and use their power as a weapon against their neighbors. The Board of an HOA is not an impartial government agency, it is a group of HOA property owners, that have taken power over other HOA property owners, and now have a very unequal right to make decisions benefit themselves at the peril of the other property owners. That group of people now control what covenants are made, how, when and on whom they are enforce, on whom they are not enforced, and have control of all communication, including the weekly newsletter, the website, and the facebook page. They have control of the elections, how they are run, how and who counts the votes, and what information goes to the members. The problems with HOAs are recognized nationally. See the Geico commercial to the right. This is not an exageration, in fact many people literally lose their homes or retirement savings due to purchasing in an HOA. All RCW Codes 64.32, 64.34, 64.38 and 64.90 are affected in the following issues. The Condo codes are more in depth due to the sharing of space, walls, etc. All laws, RCW Codes and Declarations need to be amended by the Legislators to add the Protections of Homeowner’s Constitutional Rights. The suggested law modifications here refer to 64.38 however the same modifications should be added to the appropriate sections of 64.32, 64.34, 64.38 and 64.90

HOA Reform - Problems and Proposed Solutions (click the numbered topics to read the detail)

PROBLEM:

  • Many HOAs have covenants that are aimed at keeping the elderly, poor, disabled and others of protected classes out of the community. These can be as simple as rules such as grass being required to be taller than 2” and shorter than 3” or changing the rules of what housing colors are allowed to force people to repaint their homes, or enforcing certain covenants on some but not others.   The elderly, poor, disabled and other protected classes may have more difficulty meeting these unnecessary and unreasonable requirements than others for obvious reasons.  There are city and county laws that already forbid properties to look like junkyards and also to maintain health and safety conditions.
  • A vast majority of the problems in HOAs are related to covenants that restrict personal property.   The remainder seem to be mostly related to unethical foreclosures, and failure of the HOA to maintain the common property properly, but even many of those are related to covenants that restrict personal property rights. 
  • HOA covenants controlling private property are the most frequent covenants abused by HOA Boards and Property Managers, used to extort and control the HOA homeowners, and force unethical foreclosures.  Boards can file false claims against the Homeowners, assume guilt without proof, no due process, then hire attorneys with HOA funds to force members to pay, and potentially file foreclosure on their homes for not paying. They can also do all this with the intention to intimidate Homeowners with opposing views out of running for board positions, or just speaking up against the Board.  Board will often use these covenants to force opposition out of the community.   

Constitutional Issues:

  • HOAs violate the Washington State Constitution as they are corporations that are not municipalities yet create laws (covenants), zoning and fines, thus municipal powers, with none of the oversight of other governments in the USA.
  • CCRs that are more restrictive than state laws violate the Washington State Constitution Article 1 Section 12
  • Access to private property provided in CCRS violates Article XII Section 1 SECTION 1 
  • The Legislature has the authority to change and correct these laws. Article XII Section 1 SECTION 1  

HOAs Given Rights of Municipality.  

HOAs are corporations that have been given the right to violate our Constitution and are being treated as public government bodies, (according to the Uniform Act, HOA and Condo Laws), independent of the oversights that all other governmental bodies in the USA have.  HOA/Condo Associations have been given the power of the municipality by legislators and is Unconstitutional under the WA State Constitution.

HOA Board Members frequently violate our constitutional rights guaranteed under the Washington Constitution including but not limited to:

ARTICLE XII CORPORATIONS OTHER THAN MUNICIPAL

Article I Section 12 SECTION 12   SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES PROHIBITED.   No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.

(*Note, fining members for CCRS that are more restrictive than the County Codes and State Laws is a violation of Article I Section 12.   HOA should not have the power to create Covenants that effect private property.  HOAs should only have authority to create covenants or rules over property owned by the corporation.)

No Due Process.  

Homeowners are being fined into foreclosure with NO DUE PROCESS. The unbalanced system of HOA, takes away our constitutional rights and leaves a homeowner on unequal grounds.

US Constitution, 14th Amendment, Section 1, All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

(*Note, fining members for CCRS without due process, violates the US Constitution, 14th Amendment, Section 1)

CIVIL RIGHTS LIABILITY UNDER 42 U.S.C. § 1983 demands that the government protects United States Citizens from anyone who breaks Due Process and our Civil Rights.

Due Process, a plaintiff must show: (1) that he possessed a constitutionally protected property interest; and (2) that he was deprived of that interest without due process of law. Due process property interests are created by “existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law–rules or understanding that secure certain benefits and that support claims of entitlement to those benefits.” To have a property interest protected by the Due Process Clause, “a person must have more than an abstract need or desire for it.  He must have more than a unilateral expectation of it.

There is no requirement to sue in federal court because state courts have concurrent jurisdiction, and the usual rule is exhaustion of administrative and judicial state remedies is not a prerequisite to a section 1983 action. Local governments have no immunity from damages flowing from their constitutional violations, and may not assert the good faith of its agents as a defense to liability. Further, state law sovereign immunity and state law limitations on damages do not protect local governments from liability under section 1983, and state laws requiring pre-suit notification prior to initiating an action against the state or its subdivisions similarly do not apply.

Access to Private Property  

Article I Section 7 SECTION 7   INVASION OF PRIVATE AFFAIRS OR HOME PROHIBITED.   No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.

(*Note  As members of an HOA, we have no privacy and no sanctuary. HOAs force members to sign agreements that allow them access to trespass on the member’s property, and enter their home or condominium to inspect.  In some cases homeowners are required to modify the interior or items in the interior of their homes, owned by the member to meet the whims of the HOA.  The COA/HOA boards refuse to do their duties, violate the constitutional rights of the members and trespassing laws, and the attorneys and property managers allow and encourage the harassment of the homeowners. HOAs should have no authority or powers over private property of the members.)

Ability of the Legislature to Change the Laws.

Article XII Section 1 SECTION 1   CORPORATIONS, HOW FORMED. Corporations may be formed under general laws, but shall not be created by special acts.  All laws relating to corporations may be altered, amended or repealed by the legislature at any time, and all corporations doing business in this state may, as to such business, be regulated, limited or restrained by law.

Article I Section 2 SECTION 2   SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

Solution to Problem #1:

Modify the RCWs to clearly state that HOAs have no authority over private property, they can make covenants and rules only over property owned by the HOA corporation.  We understand this would be a big change that effects many, however, it would bring out State Laws back into alignment with the Washington State Constitution and eliminate innumerable problems with HOAs.  This should be one of our end goals but we may need to make changes slowly to get there.

Association Board members, Property Managers and Attorneys are held HARMLESS…The Homeowners lose their home!

Although there are laws that are aimed at controlling the power of the HOA Board and Board Members, because those laws are civil and not criminal, enforcement is general left to the HOA member-homeowners themselves.   When the board violates the laws, the member-homeowners is in the position where they must risk their money on attorney’s and court costs to enforce the law.  Conversely, the offending Board Member is either using the HOA insurance money or the collective HOA money for their attorney’s fees and court costs.  Thus, HOA Board Members often violate HOA laws or governing documents of the HOA, knowing they have no liability or risk.  Adding the Attorney general’s office as oversight is needed. The AG’s office should be able to fine Board Members for the violation of the law and CC&Rs, just as homeowners are fined for violating the CC&Rs.

Because of this dynamic, often property owners have to surrender to illegal and/or unethical actions of the Board, simply because they can’t afford the legal costs.  Member-homeowners and member-board member are on unequal footing.  This has created a situation ripe for abuse of power. If we allow corporations to act as governments and give them the power of municipality, if we don’t have governance of these corporations, that is Tyranny of Government.  Legislators should protect our rights, not give them away.

Property owners buying into an HOA generally don’t realize that they are in effect, buying into  the equivalent of a foreign dictatorship, where those in power have no oversight. All corporations are under the governance of the government, but the Washington State government ignores these corporations.   All CC&Rs should have a written warning on the front cover of the CCRs stating that the potential homeowner is:

  • signing away their constitutional rights
  • giving power of attorney of their home to their HOA
  • giving power to the Board to raise your dues without limit and without your consent

The HOA Board Members should be required by law to sign these documents and held responsible for the fraud and violations of the Washington State Constitution included in them.

Solution to Problem #2 Full Detail

Penalties should be added to the law that fine and prescribe jail time for Board Members, and Committee Members who are empowered to make decisions by the Board, who knowingly violate the laws or covenants.  The laws should also provide compensation for damages suffered by property owners due to the illegal actions of the Board Member(s).  Board Members should also be responsible to same government ethics authorities as their State legislators.  Homeowners who violate the CC&Rs are fined, so should the board. Since Property Managers and Attorneys are automatically held harmless, they allow the board to violate the CC&Rs for profit.

Attorneys and Professional Property Managers should be mandatory reporters.  The RCWs should specify that Attorneys of HOAs work for the HOA members and not for the Board.  If they see illegal or unethical actions by Board Members they should be required to report those to the membership and the Attorney General’s Office.  There should also be even stricter penalties should the attorneys or Property Managers violate these laws.

Adding penalties to the law would change the entire dynamic.  The property owner’s money would no longer be at risk, the Board Member could no longer hide behind the corporation when knowingly violating laws.   Instead of the property owner’s money being against the HOA’s collective funds or the HOA’s Insurance Company, it would be the State Prosecutor against the violating Board Member.   This would offer much more protection for property owners.

HOAs are not like any other business.  They are not just providing a product or a service, they are governments and should fall under all the rules all other governments fall under.  Allowing uneducated “volunteers” to run unofficial governments with no oversights that control multimillions of dollars of homeowner’s money, is irresponsible and wrong. Legislators have created Uniform Acts that leave homeowners defenseless and on unequal ground.

All, FAIR HOUSING LAWS should apply to HOA/Condo Communities.

There have been many abuses by HOA boards in the past.  Many of these have significantly affected people’s lives, retirement and financial situation and many are still suffering from the effect of these past situations.   There should be no statute of limitation on reporting and prosecution past infractions of these laws.

Amend RCW 64.38.025(1.5) to add:  Board Members who knowingly violate the Washington State HOA laws, the WA Constitution or knowingly mis-enforce or misrepresent the HOA CCRs will be subject to fines, imprisonment or both.  The initial fine must be not less than $1000 and not more than $10000 plus a daily fine appropriate for the situation until the Board Member(s) correct their action or vote and remedy the problem for the property owner including any reimbursements necessary.  Repeat offenders will receive the appropriate fine, banned from being on any HOA Board for a period at least 5 years and or incarceration for no more than 1 year.

Washington State Fair Collection Laws, RCW 19.16 must apply to HOAs and any representative participating in collections for the HOA, attorneys, collection agencies or others.   All Federal and Washington State Fair Housing Laws must apply to HOA and Condo Associations

Board Members must be responsible to the same government ethics requirements, investigation and additional penalties as the mayor of a city in the State of Washington.  There must be no statute of limitations on the reporting and prosecution of these laws.

Homeowners have no way of communicating with neighbors. How do we have Fair Elections, if the homeowners cannot communicate with one another?

Member Communication.   In many HOAs, especially those with a large number of properties or many that are second homes or vacation properties, it is very difficult for the members to communicate freely with each other.  To allow free and convenient communication between HOA members, all members must supply an email address that will be shared electronically with all of the other members at no cost for the list.

Solution to Problem #3 Full Detail

Amend RCW 64.38.015    To allow free and convenient communication between HOA members, all members must supply an email address that will be shared electronically by the HOA with all of the other members at no cost for the list.  The list must include the HOA property owner’s name, HOA property address, mailing address, email address and phone number.  For property owners without knowledge of email use, the HOA will create a free email address for them on a free service such as Gmail or equivalent, in a manner that the HOA organization is not able to read, or control the private email of the property owner. All members and all office staff with access to the list will sign an agreement to not share the email addresses with anyone outside the HOA and to only use the email for HOA related issues.  All phone numbers are to be considered listed unless specified unlisted by the property owner.   

64.90.495 (2)(i) Unlisted telephone numbers and electronic address of the property owners.  To allow free and convenient communication between HOA members, all members must supply an email address that will be shared electronically by the HOA with all of the other members at no cost for the list.  The list must include the HOA property owner’s name, HOA property address, mailing address, email address and phone number.    For property owners without knowledge of email use, the HOA will create a free email address for them on a free service such as Gmail or equivalent, in a manner that the HOA organization is not able to read, or control the private email of the property owner. All members and all office staff with access to the list will sign an agreement to not share the email addresses with anyone outside the HOA and to only use the email for HOA related issues.  All phone numbers are to be considered listed unless specified unlisted by the property owner.   

Late fees and Fines have additional fees added, such as late fees, administration fees, attorney fees. These fees are due in 30 days or Liens and Foreclosure with begin, with NO DUE Process offered for a homeowner to defend their actions!

Fines, late fees and attorney’s fees often far exceed the value of the fine, back dues and/or assessments.   Recently a woman forgot to pay her annual dues of about $350 and ended up paying almost $8000 with the fines, late fees and attorney’s fees. Attorneys know that in order to foreclose in WA a homeowner has to be 3 months past due in Assessments, and the amount must be more than $200.   It does not seem at all reasonable that a person could lose their home over a $200 debt and three months late hardly seems like enough time.

All challenged fines should be handled in small claims court, with NO Attorneys. This allows for due process and an impartial tribunal.   

Solution to Problem #4 Full Detail

64.90.480 (21) An association may not commence an action to foreclose a lien on a unit under this section unless:
(a) The unit owner, at the time the action is commenced, owes at least a sum equal to the greater of:
(i) Three Six months or more of assessments, not including fines, late charges, interest, attorneys’ fees, or costs incurred by the association in connection with the collection of a delinquent owner’s account; or
(ii) $200 10,000 of assessments, not including fines, late charges, interest, attorneys’ fees, or costs incurred by the association in connection with the collection of a delinquent owner’s account

Amend 64.38.050.   In addition the HOA has a duty to mitigate the collection costs to the least possible amount. If the property owner disputes the claim, all fines, interest and HOA fees related to that issue, must cease until the issue is resolved.  For CCR and other fines, all fine challenges must be handled in small claims court, with NO Attorneys. This allows for due process and an impartial tribunal. HOAs must not appeal the small claims court decisions or file in any other court for decisions on CCR violations or fines.

All challenged fines should be handled in small claims court, with NO Attorneys. This allows for due process and an impartial tribunal.    HOAs should not be allowed to appeal the small claims court decisions or file in any other court for decisions on CCR violations or fines.  Both parties may consult attorneys for legal advice, but they can not be present in court.

Add 64.90.485 (1)(a) In addition the HOA has a duty to mitigate the collection costs to the least possible amount. If the property owner disputes the claim, all fines, interest and HOA fees related to that issue, must cease until the issue is resolved.  For CCR and other fines, all fine challenges must be handled in small claims court, with NO Attorneys. This allows for due process and an impartial tribunal. HOAs must not appeal the small claims court decisions or file in any other court for decisions on CCR violations or fines.

Should a foreclosure proceed on real estate, properties must be sold at the current market value of that property as determined through realtor comps by the County Mediation Centers.

Modify 64.90.485  (19) The association is entitled to recover any costs and reasonable and allowed attorneys’ fees as defined in (1)(a) incurred in connection with the collection of delinquent assessments, whether or not such collection activities result in a suit being commenced or prosecuted to judgment. The prevailing party is also entitled to recover costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees in such suits, including any appeals, if it prevails on appeal and in the enforcement of a judgment or in the case where the association files but then drops the suit before the judgement the member is entitled to recover attorney’s fees.

Homeowners are the STAKEHOLDERS. Any other corporation is just a Trades group being paid and financed by the HOMEOWNERS. It is unjust to say that anyone profiting from the demise of Homeowners is an actual stakeholder.

The only stakeholders involved in HOAs are the property owners.  Others should be considered third parties that profit from HOA/Condo Associations. These trades groups should not be involved in making laws, since they profit only from the demise of homeowners. The HOA is supposed to be there for the benefit of the property owners and the legislature’s goal should be to protect the property owners. Trades groups’ bylaws do not allow them to represent the interests of the property owner or the Association, so therefore they should not be allowed to write laws that violate the constitutional rights of the property owner.

Solution to Problem #5 Full Detail

RCW 64.38.005  ADD:  These laws must be designed to protect the individual property owners of properties within an HOA.  The rights of the property owners must be of priority when considering any changes to the laws.  The interests of third parties such as external associations, management companies, attorneys and other third parties must not be a consideration if they may negatively affect the individual property owner.

Boards have to monitor themselves. Board members violating the Covenants  and the law is overlooked, if you serve on the Board. Unchecked Power Corrupts.

In many HOAs small groups of people with special interests take over Boards and make decisions for their own property benefit while damaging the other properties. Board Members have the fiduciary responsibility to make decisions that benefit at least the majority of the community, but preferably equally to the entire community.   Board Members,  Property Managers (PMs) and attorneys are responsible to the homeowners.  At any point that a PM or attorney is aware of any violations of this section by a Board Member, it is the fiduciary responsibility of the PM or attorney to advise the Board member and if the situation is not immediately rectified, to report the violation to the State.

All CCRs must be enforced equally or removed.  Boards can not engage in selective enforcement or make wavers for one member but not others for similar issues.  Often property owners are fined for covenants that don’t exist and are assessed fines.  Boards incorrectly interpret vague language in their CCRs resulting in large variations in enforcement. If a homeowner can prove the Board, Property Manager (PM) or Attorney have knowingly violated the enforcement of CC&Rs, the board must step down and PM or Attorney must be replaced immediately.   The PM and Attorney should NEVER be held HARMLESS. They should have the liability of prosecution for allowing a board to violate the property owner’s rights.

Solution to Problem #6 Full Detail

Amend RCW 64.38.030  Board Members, PMs and Attorneys working for HOAs have the fiduciary responsibility to make decisions that benefit at least the majority of the community, but preferably equally to the entire community as well as protecting the rights of the individual property owners.   Board Members, PMs and Attorneys are responsible to the homeowners, both individually and as a whole, not to the Board or the HOA organization. At any point that a PM or attorney is aware of any violations of the Washington State HOA RCWs by a Board Member, it is the fiduciary and legal responsibility of the PM or attorney to advise the Board member of the laws, and if the situation is not immediately rectified, to report the violation to the State and copy the offended property owner. All CCRs and Rules must be enforced, enforced equally or removed.  Boards must not engage in selective enforcement.  No individual wavers of the CCRs or Rules must be allowed.  Enforcement of the CCRs is limited to specific stated requirements within the CCRs.  General statements such as “properties must be maintained in an attractive manner” are not enforceable by an HOA.  CCRs must be specific such as “grass lawns may not be more than 6” tall.”

RCW 64.90.500

Association as trustee.

With respect to a third person, other than Attorneys and Property Managers, dealing with the association in the association’s capacity as a trustee, the existence of trust powers and their proper exercise by the association may be assumed without inquiry. A third person is not bound to inquire whether the association has power to act as trustee or is properly exercising trust powers. A third person, without actual knowledge that the association is exceeding or improperly exercising its powers, is fully protected in dealing with the association as if it possessed and properly exercised the powers it purports to exercise. A third person is not bound to assure the proper application of trust assets paid or delivered to the association in its capacity as trustee.

Modify RCW 64.90.520   Officers and board members—Removal.

(1) Unit owners present in person, by proxy, or by absentee ballot at any meeting of the unit owners at which a quorum is present may remove any board member and any officer elected by the unit owners, with or without cause, if the number of votes in favor of removal cast by unit owners entitled to vote for election of the board member or officer proposed to be removed is at least a majority of the votes in the association held by such unit owners or (b) two-thirds  majority of the votes cast by such unit owners at the meeting, but:

(iii) The unit owners may not consider whether to remove a board member or officer at a meeting of the unit owners unless that subject was listed in the notice of the meeting.  Any petition to remove an officer or board member to the Association, containing the property owners’s names, addresses in the association, and signatures,  of  2% of the total membership or 50 signatures, whichever is less, requires that a vote take place at the next meeting that is held after 60 days from the delivery of the petition to the Association.

(4) The board may must, without a unit owner vote, remove from the board a board member or officer elected by the unit owners if (a) the board member or officer is delinquent in the payment of assessments more than sixty days and (b) the board member or officer has not cured the delinquency within thirty days after receiving notice of the board’s intent to remove the board member or officer. Unless provided otherwise by the governing documents, the board may remove an officer elected by the board at any time, with or without cause. The removal must be recorded in the minutes of the next board meeting.

Association Boards have MORE POWER THAN THE MUNICIPALITY and are HELD HARMLESS for ALL ACTIONS.

Often HOA Boards overstep their authority.  They have been known to usurp the power of local governments, and attempt to enforce the Boards “interpretation“ of a regulation or ordinance.

Solution to Problem #7 Full Detail

Amend RCW 64.38.020   An HOA’s authority is limited to the enforcement rules and fines stated specifically in their CCRs.  HOAs do not have authority to enforce laws or ordinances.  General statements in the HOA’s governing documents indicating that members must follow all applicable laws and/or ordinances does not give the HOA the authority to enforce laws or ordinances.

Consumers have no idea that a Board can change the Rules at anytime or can charge a special assessment for any reason. Who is training the homeowners? NO ONE should have to pay to learn how to live in their home. What happened to the TRUTH IN LENDING?  

Many times people buy properties in HOAs either not knowing the property is in an HOA, that covenants exist, or not aware that there are additional rules or fines that are not mentioned in the covenants.

Solution to Problem #8 Full Detail

Amend RCW 64.38.020   All rules of the HOA and all applicable fines must be in the covenants.   The Covenants and The Rules must be presented to prospective property buyers before they make an offer on the property.  The CCR document must be signed and dated by the prospective property buyer and included in the offer documentation when a prospective buyer is making an offer on a property that is in an HOA.  Resale certs found to be fraudulent, should be prosecuted as FRAUD!!

Property owners buy into an HOA under a set of covenants.   A new group of Board Members may take over and completely change the rules, impinging on the property owners rights.  HOAs should not be able to take away property rights after the property was purchased under one set of Covenants.


Solution to Problem #9 Full Detail

Once a property owner purchases a property, the HOA must not add additional covenants or fines on private properties.  Covenants and/or fines may be removed by a majority vote of the total membership at any time.   Rules for common areas may be adopted, amended, or repealed by a majority vote of the total membership at any time.

RCW 64.90.010

Definitions.

(49) “Rule” means a policy, guidelinerestriction, procedure, or regulation of an association, however denominated, that is not set forth in the declaration or organizational documents and governs the use or appearance of common property or conduct of persons while using that property.   Rules might include things like proceedures for submitting and  handling complaints, quiet hours or swimming pool policies.  Nothing in the rules shall impose on the members right to free speech or other constitutional rights or rights granted in the law.

RCW 64.90.505

Covenant and Rule Changes.

Members may propose a Covenant Repeal, partial repeal, or Rule Change by obtaining petition signatures from 2% of the members or 50 members, whichever is less.  The petition must include the exact wording of the current Covenant or Rule and the exact changes desired.

Covenant Repeals.

(1) Unless the declaration provides otherwise, the board must, before adopting, amending, or repealing any rule Covenant, give all unit owners notice of:

(a) Its intention to adopt, amend, or repeal or partially repeal a rule covenant and provide the text of the rule covenant and the proposed change; and

(b) A date by on which the board will act members must vote on the change. proposed rule or amendment after considering comments from unit ownersThe change is passed if more than 50% of the votes cast are for the change.  Voting may be by paper and/or electronic.  Voting must be completed within 100 days of the submission of the petition and voting ballots must be sent at least 30 days before the end of the voting period.  The last day of the voting period must be on a day of a Board Meeting.

(2) Following adoption, amendment, or the vote to repeal of a rule covenant, the association must give notice to the unit owners of its action and provide a copy of any new or revised rule the Covenants if the Covenant was repealed.

(3) If the declaration so provides, an association may adopt rules to establish and enforce construction and design criteria and aesthetic standards and, if so, must adopt procedures for enforcement of those standards and for approval of construction applications, including a reasonable time within which the association must act after an application is submitted and the consequences of its failure to act.

(4) An association’s internal business operating procedures need not be adopted as rules covenants but cannot add to, delete from, or contradict the covenants.   

(5) Every rule Covenant must be reasonable and apply and be enforced equally to all members.  Question of reasonableness to be determined by the State Attorney General’s office.

Rule Changes.

(6) Unless the declaration provides otherwise, the board must, before adopting, amending, or repealing any rule, give all unit owners notice of:

(a) Its intention to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule and provide the text of the rule and the proposed change; and

(b) A date by on which the board will act members must vote on the change. proposed rule or amendment after considering comments from unit ownersThe change is passed if more than 50% of the votes cast are for the change.  Voting may be by paper and/or electronic.  Voting must be completed within 100 days of the submission of the petition and voting ballots must be sent at least 30 days before the end of the voting period.  The last day of the voting period must be on a day of a Board Meeting.

(2) Following adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule, the association must give notice to the unit owners of its action and provide a copy of all the rules in updated form any new or revised rule.

(3) If the declaration so provides, an association may adopt rules to establish and enforce construction and design criteria and aesthetic standards and, if so, must adopt procedures for enforcement of those standards and for approval of construction applications, including a reasonable time within which the association must act after an application is submitted and the consequences of its failure to act.

(4) An association’s internal business operating procedures need not be adopted as rules but cannot add to, delete from, or contradict the rules.   

(5) Every rule must be reasonable and apply and be enforced equally to all members.  Question of reasonableness to be determined by the State Attorney Generals office.

Attorneys representing an association charge more than a foreclosure in many cases. This financial burden hurts all the rest of the homeowners paying these fees. FAIR FORECLOSURE LAWS DO NOT APPLY TO HOA/ CONDO OWNERS.

Property owners get in unexpected situations, like Covid.  They have good intentions to pay their HOA dues, assessments but an emergency comes up and they can’t.  Often liens and foreclosures are filed without the property owner aware.   A solution would be similar to what banks do with house loans, collect HOA fees through the mortgage escrow with a monthly payment.  ALL HOA/CONDO DUES SHOULD BE PAID FROM HOMEOWNERS ESCROW ACCOUNTS, making it impossible to be late in paying assessments. If the owner of the home does not have a mortgage then the HOA owner should have a choice to pay all up front, or pay quarterly or monthly with no interest.  Small claims court can be used for all complaints due to being under $10,000, therefore eliminating the need of attorneys.

All other collection routes should be taken, such as small claims court, alternative payment plans, garnishments, etc. before foreclosure can be started.   Homeowner should receive 60 day notice before foreclosure can start.  Properties must be sold in foreclosure at fair market price and the balance after paying the debt, court costs and legal fees should be returned to the property owner.  All efforts should be taken to minimize damage to the property owner and mitigate the legal costs.

Solution to Problem #10 Full Detail

Amend  64.38.050All HOA dues and assessments, must be collected through the mortgage escrow with the property monthly payment or paid in full annually at the option of the property owner.    All assessments to be allowed to be spread over one year, more if possible.  If the owner of the home does not pay mortgage then the HOA owner must have a choice to pay the HOA all up front, or pay quarterly or monthly, prior to being due.  HOAs must provide a monthly bill/invoice for dues and assessments showing the due date, monthly charge and the total balance. HOAs may charge interest on all payments up to the current lowest mortgage interest rates.

For any collection, whether for dues, assessments, fines, etc., all other collection routes must be taken, such as alternative payment plans, small claims court, garnishments, etc. before liens, or foreclosure can be started.   All collections under $10,000 must be handled through small claims court.

Homeowner must receive at least 30 day notice of late payment with a 30 day period to file a dispute. (See Exhibit “a” SAMPLE NOTICE.”  The notice must include instructions on how to dispute the claim and how to file with the HOA for a hearing before the HOA Board.  If the HOA management can not resolve the issue with the property owner, the owner has the right to an appeal hearing before the Board.  If the property owner disputes the charges, all fines, late charges and interest must stop until the issue is resolved.  The Board’s decision must be in writing, mailed or emailed within 7 days and include a complete explanation for the decision.  Should the Board hearing not resolve the situation, HOA property owners, upon receipt of the Board decision, must have the right to appropriate mediation at a mediation center of their choice.  The Board must supply contact information for the local free or low cost County and other mediation options included with their decision.

Properties must be sold in foreclosure at fair market price and the balance after paying the debt, court costs and legal fees must be returned to the property owner.  All efforts must be taken to minimize damage to the property owner and mitigate the collection and legal costs.

HOA violations of the above are considered per se Consumer Protection Act violations with treble damages and attorney fees as the penalty.

Fair and Equal is the law. NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED…Fair insurance laws do not apply to Condo Owners. Board Members should NEVER be the ADJUSTER for an insurance claim. WA State has “IFCA”, but that does not apply to HOA/Condo owners. Who protects us and why isn’t the law fair and equal?

HOAs should not make a profit through ownership any individual property.  HOAs should not be allowed to redirect funds from insurance claims or other incomes connected to one property to improve other properties.  For example, HOAs may not charge homeowners for RV or boat storage, charge them more than the actual costs to the HOA, and then use the additional funds to make improvements or maintenance to a different property or put it in the general fund.

Solution to Problem #11 Full Detail

Amend RCW 64.38.020 (8) Acquire, hold, encumber, and convey in its own name any right, title, or interest to real or personal property; yet HOAs must not make a profit from members through ownership any individual property.  Rentals of HOA common properties must be at cost.  This does not include rentals to non-members.

HOAs must not redirect funds from insurance claims or other incomes connected to one property to improve or maintain other properties or put those funds in a general fund.  All revenues and incomes derived from a property must be used to repair, improve or maintain that specific property.

64.90.470 (5) Any loss covered by the property insurance policy under subsection (1)(a) and (b) of this section must be adjusted with the association, but the insurance proceeds for that loss are payable to by any insurance trustee designated for that purpose, or otherwise to the association.  The insurance trustee or the association must hold any insurance proceeds in trust for the association, unit owners, and lienholders as their interests may appear. Subject to subsection (8) of this section, the proceeds must be disbursed first for the repair or replacement of the damaged property to bring it back to original condition before the incident, and the association, unit owners, and lienholders are not entitled to receive payment of any portion of the proceeds unless there is a surplus of proceeds after the property has been completely repaired or replaced, or the common interest community is terminated.

The WA State Constitution demands that No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.   Homeowners are not allowed to sign away their rights in a Private Contract. Legislators violated the constitution when they wrote the Uniform Acts.

There should be one set of laws in the State of Washington that applies to all.   If you read through 64.90 you will see that it refers to other sets of HOA laws, 64.32, 64.34, 64.38.   The HOA Boards may choose which sets of laws to follow.   64.90 was written to include all forms of HOAs and should be the singular law of the State of Washington.   It does not make sense to write laws to remedy problems and then allow people to choose whether or not to follow them.

Solution to Problem #12 Full Detail

Modify  64.90 to specify that it replaces 64.32, 64.34, 64.38 and requires HOAs of all forms to adhere to 64.90 now and modify their declarations so that they comply within a one year period.

Homeowners have to fight Boards, Property Managers and Attorneys to access the documents of the association that they are entitled to see. This hurts the Association by charging excess fees for mitigation to see the documents.

Full transparency must be required by every HOA.  The property owners in the HOA are part owners of the HOA.   All information seen by the Board Members should be easily, copied, or electronically sent to any member.

To allow free and easy communication between members, a member list with name, address in the Association, phone and email address must be collected by the HOA and be free and available to members only to be used by the members for Assocation business only. 

We understand that some expressed some privacy concerns about this but as the members would be informed that the email address they are giving would be shared, and it is free and easy to create another email address that would be exlusively used for this purpose, there would be no privacy issue.  Most corporations share email addresses.

Solution to Problem #13 Full Detail

64.90.495 (2) Subject to subsections (3) and (4) of this section, all records required to be retained by an association must be made available for examination and copying by all members, unit owners, holders of mortgages on the units, and their respective authorized agents unless agreed otherwise and records must be sent electronically by request, in pdf, word or other available format as requested by the property owner, unit owner or member, as follows:

Add 64.90.495 (3)(c) Existing or potential litigation or mediation, arbitration, or administrative proceedings; unless related only to HOA property owners such as enforcement of covenants, covenant violation records, architectural committee actions or voting records, etc.

Add 64.90.495 (3)(d) Existing or potential matters involving federal, state, or local administrative or other formal proceedings before a governmental tribunal for enforcement of the governing documents; unless related only to HOA property owners such as lawsuits or investigations that might effect the members in any way.

Add 64.90.495 (3)(e) Legal advice or communications that are otherwise protected by the attorney-client privilege or the attorney work product doctrine, including communications with the managing agent or other agent of the association; unless related only to HOA property owners such as enforcement of covenants.

64.90.495 (3)(i) Unlisted telephone numbers or electronic address of the property owners.  All phone numbers are to be considered listed unless specified unlisted by the property owner. To allow free and convenient communication between HOA members, all members must supply an email address that will be shared electronically by the HOA with all of the other members at no cost for the list. The list must include the HOA property owner’s name, HOA property address, mailing address, email address and phone number. For property owners without knowledge of email use, the HOA will create a free email address for them on a free service such as Gmail or equivalent, in a manner that the HOA organization is not able to read, or control the private email of the property owner. All members and all office staff with access to the list will sign an agreement to not share the email addresses with anyone outside the HOA and to only use the email for HOA related issues.

64.90.495 (3)(k) Agreements that for good cause prohibit disclosure to the members.
64.90.495 (4) An association may charge a reasonable fee for producing and providing copies of any records under this section and for supervising the unit owner’s inspection, or for sending electronic copies, but no more than their actual costs, plus the prorated hourly pay of the employee sending the records.  The least costly employee available should be used for this purpose.

Communities are REQUIRED to have reserve studies done each year. Damages to each association are disclosed each year. Most CC&Rs and the Law require associations to RESTORE PROMPTLY. Allowing any CONDO association to be in disrepair is a violation of the CC&Rs and the Law. Who is holding these Board members accountable? NO ACCOUNTABILITY OR GOVERNANCE LEADS TO THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

Under current RCWs, Associations pass the buck of creating a proper reserve and funding it,  to property owners purchasing years later, thus transferring debt they created to other unsuspecting property owners.

 

Solutions to Problem Full Detail #14

64.90.535 (b) Reserves must be fully funded for depreciated amounts of the current assets.  Reserves that are not fully funded as of 1/1/2023 must increase their reserve by 10% of the current difference annually for 10 years until fully funded.

64.90.550 (2)(l) A statement of the amount of any current deficit or surplus in reserve funding expressed on a dollars per unit basis. The amount is calculated by subtracting the association’s reserve account balance as of the date of the study from the fully funded balance, and then multiplying the result by the fraction or percentage of the common expenses of the association allocable to each unit; except that if the fraction or percentage of the common expenses of the association allocable vary by unit, the association must calculate any current deficit or surplus in a manner that reflects the variation.

RCW 64.90.555   Reserve study—Demand—Enforcement.

(2) One or more unit owners may bring an action to enforce the requirements of this section and RCW 64.90.545 and 64.90.550. In such an action, a court may order specific performance and may award reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to the prevailing party.   …may file a complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office if this section is not followed by the Association Board.

 

ALL BUDGETS SHOULD REQUIRE MORE THAN 50% TO PASS A BUDGET, NOT DENY A BUDGET. This is unfair to members that are on a fixed budget. First time homebuyers and seniors have no idea a board can double or triple assessments without the vote of the people. This is also UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  Members are already being double taxed, plus pay taxes that do not go for what they are being charged for. Gas, sewer and water lines should be the responsibility of the municipality. Giving these rights away is unconstitutional and taxation without representation.

Under the current RCWs it is almost impossible to defeat the proposed budget.

This change will force the Board to adequately explain the budget to the members.

Solution to Problem #15 Full Detail

RCW 64.90.525   Budgets—Assessments—Special assessments.

(1)(a) Within thirty days after adoption of any proposed budget for the common interest community, the board must provide a copy of the budget to all the unit owners and set a date for a meeting of the unit owners to consider ratification of the budget not less than fourteen nor more than fifty days after providing the budget.   The budget willl be put to the vote of  the membership by paper or electronic, and will pass if 50% or more of the votes approve,   Unless at that meeting the unit owners of units to which a majority of the votes in the association are allocated or any larger percentage specified in the declaration reject the budget, the budget and the assessments against the units included in the budget are ratified, whether or not a quorum votes.

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