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 to their limited common areas, and one owner sued. The Appellate Court ruled that the owner was entitled to Summary Judgment (a ruling by the judge without a trial) that limited common repair expenses are assessed to all owners. Neither the Condo Declaration for the association or the statute provided any alternative. The “New” Condominium Act (RCW 64.34) does allow limited common element repair cost to be assessed to individual owners, but that must be specifically stated in the Declaration. An Old Act condominium Declaration can be amended by its owners to adopt provisions of the New Act, so an association can amend its Declaration to provide that expenses that benefit only some owners, expenses to maintain limited common areas, and expenses caused by the misconduct of owners may be assessed to individual owners rather than as common expenses. See Leo v Diana Court Owners Association, No 49574-1-11 (Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 24, 2017)