Now on to The Hague….

In Crystal Ridge Homeowners Assn v. City of Bothell, 89533-3 (Wash. February 12, 2015), the Washington State Supreme Court held that Snohomish County and its successor the City of Bothell assumed responsibility for maintaining drainage pipes based on a recorded plat that provided drainage easements where the pipes were located were reserved for and granted to Snohomish County. The City of Bothell lost at the trial court, and the Court of Appeals. And now the Supreme Court. Now on to The Hague.

A reminder of how important it is to read plat maps….

Washington State Supreme Court Denies Review in Curt Casey v. Sudden Valley Community Association

Washington State Supreme Court Denies Review in Curt Casey, et al. v. Sudden Valley Community Association

by Brian P. McLean

Our Supreme Court denied review yesterday in Curt Casey, et al. v. Sudden Valley Community Association. The Court of Appeals case creates significant uncertainty about the applicability of RCW 64.38 to budget-making so it is unfortunate that many homeowner associations will be left with that uncertainty.

At a more personal level the petitioners in the case were responsible owners trying to do what’s best for their entire community. Even if reasonable minds could differ about their objectives the final court decision likely leaves them exposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs.

Flag at half-mast.


SB 5236

SB 5236 was introduced on 1/16/2015. Main sponsors are Senators Sheldon and Rivers. Referred to Committee.

The bill would amend RCW 64.38.025(3) and require that for associations with membership of two thousand or more that the budget be “ratified or rejected by a majority of votes cast by members in person or by proxy.”

The current ratification language in RCW 64.38 is one of the most elegant provisions in the statute – it protects the interests of the majority of the total population by giving owners the right to reject a budget while simultaneously recognizing that the vast majority of owners in large associations tend to be rationally indifferent to budgeting so long as the grass is cut, landscaping and roads are maintained, and the entry way sign looks nice.

The result of this legislation would be to defeat budgets – which is its likely intent – thus resulting in the remaining owners watching common areas and facilities tend toward disrepair. The proposed bill no matter how well-intentioned is not responsible legislation. Like a small city, a large association needs a budget to operate.

It’s Here. Washington State’s Common Interest Ownership Act

It’s Here. Washington State’s Common Interest Ownership Act
by Brian P. McLean

Senate Bill (SB) 5263 – the Washington State Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act – was introduced on January 16, 2015, in the State Legislature and referred to the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee. The sponsors are Senators Pedersen, Benton, Mullet, Fraser, Roach, Hobbs, Rivers, and Fain.

You can find a copy of the bill at:

The bill introduces a number of changes to how condominium and homeowner associations, cooperatives, and other types of common interest communities will operate.

LET US HEREBY RESOLVE, to Elect Board Members

LET US HEREBY RESOLVE, to Elect Board Members
By Brian P. McLean, JD, CCAL

Most associations don’t have a good written election policy. Granted, the association’s original articles of incorporation and bylaws may take perfunctory stabs at describing when elections take place, or whether board members must be owners, or the über-complex staggering of director terms, but other than these perfunctory stabs at clarity one cannot expect the articles and bylaws to tell us anything other than the obvious: owners elect board members. An association should have a good election policy that Continue reading LET US HEREBY RESOLVE, to Elect Board Members

Purity of Bloodline Rule for Condo Boards

Purity of Bloodline Rule for Condo Boards

by Brian P. McLean

According to the Onion, a satirical online magazine and by their own admission, “America’s Finest News Source,” a condo association in Florida has adopted “strict rules of peerage mandat[ing] that children of the five presiding condo board members must marry into one another’s households….”

Reasonable? Unreasonable? Why should a condo board work any differently from a monarchy?

Questions to ponder. Find the article here.

Club Envy of Spokane – The Statute of Limitations Disappearing Act

Club Envy of Spokane, LLC v. The Ridpath Tower Condominium Association, 31913-0-III (Wn. App. Nov 18, 2014)

The Ridpath Tower Condominium Association, by and through its president Greg Jeffreys, executed a second amendment that divided a unit spanning twelve floors, into three units, including two roof top units, lowered each association member’s voting rights from 5.263 percent to 4.762 percent, and converted some common elements to private ownership. Ridpath Revival, LLC, purchased units the two roof top units.

The Ridpath Tower declaration required that a minimum of 90% of the total voting interests held by the owners was required to adopt a general amendment. Additionally, RCW 64.34.264(4) requires the approval of “the owner of each unit particularly affected” for any amendment that increases the number of units, changes the boundaries of a unit, the allocated interests of a unit, or the uses to which any unit is restricted.  The majority of owners wanted to develop the condominium into low-rent, micro-apartments. Ridpath Revival, LLC, the owner of two roof-top units created by the second amendment, wanted to develop the units into a luxury hotel. Continue reading Club Envy of Spokane – The Statute of Limitations Disappearing Act

Judge C.C. Bridgewater – In Memoriam

C.C. Bridgewater

Judge C. C. Bridgewater died July 20, 2014.

We will miss him.

He was a philosopher, a statesman, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a family man. He was my friend. We will miss his kindness, his opinions, his thoughtful observations on life.

We will miss his love of people, his grin, his love of life.

We will miss him.


Beacon Residential v. Skidmore (California Case)

This is a big deal for new homeowners and California construction defect law, brought to you in part by my friend Steven Weil of Berding & Weil:

Building on substantial case law and the common law principles on which it is based, we hold that an architect owes a duty of care to future homeowners in the design of a residential building where, as here, the architect is a principal architect on the project—that is, the architect, in providing professional design services, is not subordinate to other design professionals. The duty of care extends to such architects even when they do not actually build the project or exercise ultimate control over construction. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Beacon Residential Cmty. Ass’n v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, S208173, 2014 WL 2988058 (Cal. July 3, 2014).

“As California goes, so goes the nation.” Prof. Edgar Dykstra.