WUCIOA - What is it, and why should my community association care? Topic 1 - Collections

If you have owners who don’t pay their dues, WUCIOA is better for most communities. (But this is not legal advice for your specific association) The Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) is a new law that takes effect on July 1, 2018. Most of it only applies to HOAs and Condos created after that date. But existing HOAs and Condos can CHOOSE to adopt WUCIOA, and the legislature made it easier to do that than any other amendment to your CC&Rs or Declaration. The law specifying how HOAs and old condos (before July of 1990) are regulated are vague have led to many disputes among owners; WUCIOA is intended to fix that problem. It provides more specific guidance on how the community is governed and about the rights and obligations of the owners and the association, and even banks that loan money to purchasers. WUCIOA is friendlier to associations for COLLECTIONS in several respects:
  1. It gives the super-priority lien to all associations, which is currently absent for HOAs and Older Condos.
  2. It allows Condos to collect up to six years of unpaid dues, instead of the existing three (longer statute of limitations).
  3. It allows for the collection of some attorney fees from banks that don’t pay the super-priority lien within a specific time, following notice to the bank. This is absent from all existing statutes.
  4. It provides for a court-appointed receiver to collect rent from homes that are not owner occupied, even before commencement of a foreclosure lawsuit.
  5. It sets a default interest rate at the maximum allowed by law.
  6. It allows for nonjudicial foreclosure for all communities.
  7. It provides multiple collection remedies for cooperatives.
WUCIOA drawbacks for some communities:
  1. It does not provide for utility termination. Many Old Act (created before July 1, 1990) condos have this option, and it is unclear if this would be allowed to continue under WUCIOA.
  2. The Board must approve commencement of any foreclosure action.
  3. The association cannot foreclose for less than 3 months’ worth of dues.
Given the additional new remedies, it seems that WUCIOA would be an obvious improvement over the HOA act, or either condominium statute. It is unclear if the new statutory provisions are automatically incorporated into the Declarations, or if they must be added, and conflicting old provisions deleted. If you have questions about how WUCIOA might benefit your community, please contact us.