WUCIOA - What is it, and why should my community association care? Topic 2 - Association Records

WUCIOA has much more detail about records and owners’ rights to access them. (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. With regard to RECORDS of the association, WUCIOA is friendlier to associations in several respects:
  1. WUCIOA defines a “record,” and defines what “written” and “writing” mean.
  2. It sets out more clearly what records the association must keep, with lists, and it tells the association how long it must keep many types of records.
  3. It lists many types of records that can be withheld from owners. Protected records include:
    • Email addresses and unlisted phone numbers,
    • Personal information about other owners,
    • Personnel and medical records related to individuals,
    • Other owners’ individual files, and
    • Contracts that are in the middle of being negotiated.
  1. The association must keep records of actions taken by committees for the board.
  2. Associations can charge reasonable fees to supervise an owner’s inspection of records.
With regard to RECORDS of the association, WUCIOA may be more difficult for associations and/or may leave unanswered questions in several respects:
  1. WUCIOA does not address whether emails of board members or managers are records of the association to which members are entitled. “Records” include both “tangible medium” (like paper) and “electronic transmissions.”
  2. But the “association records” provision does not mention email or electronic transmissions to provide guidance on their disclosure or retention.
  3. It requires many kinds of records to be kept for seven years:
    • Any materials used for architectural approvals,
    • All budgets and financial statements,
    • All contracts the association is a party to, and
    • All materials relied on to enforce the governing documents.
  4. It requires ballots for any membership vote to be kept for one year.
  5. Records must be made available at the association or management office, unless owners agree otherwise.
Depending on your community, WUCIOA may be an 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.