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Washington State Legislative Update

Apr 16, 2018 | Article, Blog, Common Interest Communities, Community Associations, Law Updates, Legal, WA State, WA State Law

The Washington State’s 65th Legislative Session adjourned on March 8th. For only the third time in the last decade, the Legislature did not go into Special Session. This is no small feat, finishing on time has only occurred during the short (non-budget) legislative sessions of 2008, 2014, and now 2018. The next Legislative Session will begin on January 7th, 2019. CAI’s Legislative Action Committee (LAC) has already started planning for next year.

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If you would like to join the LAC, please reach out to Krystelle Purkey, contract lobbyist, at krystellepurkey@icloud.com.

Government Icon Retirements

There is a high probability of another long session looming, leading to several lawmakers announcing they will not seek reelection in 2018, with more announcing every day.
“It’s almost like we need to be a full-time Legislature, or figure out a different schedule,” Representative Lytton said to The Seattle Times.

As of the end of March, 13 lawmakers have announced they will not be seeking reelection, leaving a large vacuum of political power in Olympia. Political jockeying to fill those voids of power has already begun.

The surprise retirement announcement of Senator Sharon Nelson (34th – Vashon Island), who is the current Majority Leader in the Senate, will mean that no matter what happens in November the Washington Legislature will have a completely new leadership structure. Several Democratic Senators have started throwing their names into the mix as the potential new leader.

In the Senate Republican Caucus, Michael Baumgartner (6th – Cheney) has announced he will be running for Spokane County Treasurer, instead of seeking another term as Senator. Rep. Jeff Holy, Sen. Baumgartner’s current seat mate, will be vying for this seat.

IIn the House of Representatives, three House Democratic Chairs have also announced their retirement:

  • Rep. Kristine Lytton (40th – Anacortes), Chair of the Finance Committee
  • Rep. Ruth Kagi (32nd – Shoreline), Chair of the Early Learning & Human Services Committee
  • Rep. Judy Clibborn (41st – Mercer Island), Chair of the Transportation Committee
On the Republican side of the aisle, 9 GOP House members have announced their retirement, including the House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen (39th – Monroe). J.T. Wilcox (2nd– Yelm), who was the Deputy Minority leader, was elected as the new leader before the Legislature adjourned. This large exodus of lawmakers means that the Legislature will have a lot of new personalities and new leadership in all four legislative chambers come 2019.

Government Icon 2018 Election Cycle

In 2018, every member of the House Representatives and half of the Senate is up for reelection.

Both parties have announced that they will be targeting key races throughout Washington State. The Democrats, wishing to secure their majority in all chambers, have announced their top targets as follows: Sen. Mark Miloscia (30th – Federal Way), Sen. Joe Fain (47th – Kent), Sen. Jan Angel (26th – Gig Harbor), and Rep. Mark Harmsworth (44th – Snohomish). The Republicans have announced they will be targeting Senator Steve Hobbs (44th – Snohmish), Rep. Christine Kilduff (28th – University Place), and Rep. Brian Blake (19th – Aberdeen).

Candidate filing deadline is on May 18. All candidates running will need to have declared by this date and then the campaign season will truly kick off.

Government Icon CAI Specific Legislation

During the 2017-18 Biennium, the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) advocated for the interests of CAI members. Over 20 pieces of legislation were actively worked on or monitored this year, however only 3 passed.

Substitute Senate Bill 6175 – WUCIOA

Brief Summary: Establishes the Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) to govern the formation, management, and termination of common interest communities including condominiums, homeowner associations, and real estate cooperatives.

Only two sections of WUCIOA will automatically apply to existing common interest communities (condominiums, homeowner associations, and cooperatives) in Washington. One addresses the process for an existing community to elect to be governed by WUCIOA and the other addresses budget ratification and assessments. The full Act will only apply to common interest communities created after its effective date.

Prime Sponsor: Senator Jamie Pedersen

Bill Status: Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on March 27, 2018.

Effective Date: July 1, 2018

Second Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2057 – Foreclosure Fairness

Brief Summary: The striking amendment introduced by Senator Mullet is the culmination of a two-year process with over twenty stakeholders. The final bill is the agreed upon language that touches on everything from Department of Commerce’s foreclosure fairness fees to how the financial server can “maintain” the property. The two sections that impacted community associations were: deceased borrower and nuisance abatement.

The deceased borrower provisions created a process for servicer and associations to follow if an individual passes away without a will and is in a foreclosure procedure.

The nuisance abatement section forces servicers to conduct maintenance on the property if it falls into all three of the following categories:

  1. It is in a foreclosure
  2. The property is abandoned
  3. The city or county has deemed it a nuisance under prudery. Associations will be continuing the nuisance discussions over the interim

Prime Sponsor: Representative Tina Orwall

Bill Status: Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on March 29, 2018.

Effective Date: June 7, 2018

Substitute House Bill 2514 – Discriminatory Provisions Found in Written Instruments Related to Real Property

Brief Summary: Authorizes an owner of property subject to a written instrument containing provisions void by reason of Washington’s Law Against Discrimination to record with the county auditor a restrictive covenant modification document. Changes the list of unlawful provisions that homeowners association boards may (and in some cases, must) remove from their governing documents by majority vote to include all provisions that are void by reason of Washington’s Law Against Discrimination.

Prime Sponsor: Representative Christine Kilduff

Bill Status: Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on March 15, 2018.

Effective Date: June 7, 2018 – except for section 1, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

Government Icon What to Expect in 2019

Throughout the 2018 Legislative Session there was a constant chorus of “Washington needs a more robust housing supply.” However, with the Democrats gaining control again, they had several key pieces of legislation they wanted to pass, pushing the housing discussion off until next year. This is where the LAC will come into play and we must prepare for what is to come. The following is a list of potential top housing issues for 2019: construction defect claims, dispute resolution programs, and association voter apathy. As the LAC begins planning for the 2019 Legislative Session, it is always good to start with what was introduced during this last biennium, but did not pass, as it is likely to be reintroduced again.

House Bill 1172: Low-water landscaping

Brief Summary: Prohibits homeowner association and condominium association restrictions that limit private property owners’ ability to deploy low-water landscaping techniques.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Tina Orwall

Substitute House Bill 1494: Private Road Maintenance

Brief Summary: Requires the holders of an interest in an easement to maintain the easement and permits agreements that allow maintenance obligations to be allocated to fewer than all holders of an interest in an easement. Requires the cost of maintaining an easement to be shared by each holder of an interest in the easement.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Morris

House Bill 2022: Homeowners’ Association Violations

Brief Summary: Entitles an aggrieved party, if a willful violation of a homeowners’ association is found, to exemplary damages up to two times the actual damages sustained.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Christine Kilduff

Substitute House Bill 2475: Tolling of Construction Defect Claims

Brief Summary: Revises the notice and opportunity to cure process in a construction defect action, adding a mediation process and further detail with respect to the termination of this process. Extends tolling provisions and provides for tolling in the context of claims by one construction professional against another.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Cindy Ryu

Substitute House Bill 2485: Low-Water Landscaping

Brief Summary: Prohibits homeowner association and condominium association restrictions that limit private property owners’ ability to deploy low-water landscaping techniques.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Tina Orwall

Substitute House Bill 2790: AGO Dispute Resolution Program

Brief Summary: The Office of the Attorney General (AGO) is directed to establish a dispute resolution pilot program in Clark, King, and Spokane counties, for the resolution of disputes between condominium and homeowners’ association boards and owners. The pilot also instructs the AGO to create educational materials on the rights of homeowners and the authority of the boards.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Vicki Kraft

Substitute House Bill 2831: Association Notice Requirements w/Condo Defect Litigation

Brief Summary: Requires increased notice, a meeting, and a majority vote of the homeowners before the board of a condominium or homeowners’ association may commence a construction defect action.

Prime Sponsor: Rep. Tana Senn

SB 5082: Fire safety compliance

Summary: Requires an insurer, before issuing or renewing a policy of insurance to the owner of commercial or residential rental property for coverage of the premises, to require the owner to certify that he or she is in compliance with fire safety requirements. Requires an insurer, before issuing or renewing a policy of insurance to an association for a condominium, to require the association to certify that the condominium is in compliance with fire safety requirements.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Kirk Pearson

SB 5134: HOA Notice and Opportunity Provisions Relating to Certain Enforcement Actions Taken by a Homeowners' or Condominium Association

Summary: Before a homeowner’s association or unit owner’s association may impose and collect charges for late payments of assessments, the owner must be give 45 days notice and an opportunity to be heard by the board of directors or their designee. It is also clarified that the opportunity to be heard must be fair and impartial.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Bob Hasegawa

SB 5250: Condominium Association Bylaw Amendments

Summary of Bill: Revises the condominium act with regard to voting requirements when amending the bylaws of the association.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Karen Keiser

Senate Bill 5377: HOA Budget Ratification Voting Requirements

Summary of Bill: Removes provision that a budget is ratified unless a majority of the ballots cast in the association vote to reject – and instead, adds requirement that the majority of ballots cast by those in the association present, by person or by proxy, determines the proposed budget vote.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Tim Sheldon

Senate Bill 5428: Condo Association Litigation Costs

Summary of Bill: Revises the condominium act regarding costs of litigation for condominium associations by changing the definition of constructional defect and prohibits the board of directors from taking action on behalf of the association to: institute, defend, or intervene in litigation or administrative hearings.

The parties to a construction defect dispute must engage in mandatory binding arbitration.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Mike Padden

Substitute Senate Bill 6001: Amendments to Bylaws

Brief Summary: The bylaws of a condominium may be amended by applying the minimum percentage of affirmative votes to the number of votes received rather than the total number of votes allocated if: 1) the proposed amendment is not seeking to amend the method of amending the bylaws; and 2) three notices are sent by certified mail, at least ten days apart, to the unit owners in advance of the vote either at a proposed meeting or other voting method authorized by the governing documents.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Karen Keiser

Substitute Senate Bill 6005: Protecting Lienholders' Interests While Retaining Consumer Protections

Brief Summary: County treasurers, at least 180 days before the issuance of a certificate of delinquency, must provide notice to the record owner of residential property that contains information regarding the potential for the homeowner to access mediation under the Foreclosure Fairness Act.  The fee a person may charge a non-natural person to locate abandoned property is 35 percent of the value returned to the owner.

Prime Sponsor: Sen. Mark Mullet

We Need Your Support!

Government Icon Government Icon Government Icon

The LAC thanks all the members who have stayed involved and diligent this year. We will continue to fight for all community associations throughout the State, but we will still need your support.

In 2019, housing will be one of, if not the most, debated issues at the Washington State Legislature. Please keep a look out for CAI’s “Calls-to-Action” and let your lawmakers know how important it is for them to support our industry. We are essential to a thriving and prosperous Washington.

If you are not receiving emails for CAI’s “Calls to Action” and would like to get on the distribution list, please contact Dawn Bauman at Dbauman@caionline.org.

Written By WSCAI's Legislative Action Committee (LAC)

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