WUCIOA - What is it, and why should my community association care? Topic 4 - Open Board Meetings

WUCIOA requires all board and board committee meetings to be open to the members (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 requires open meetings for all communities, and is more specific about how that obligation must be carried out. This obligation applies to board meetings and for all committees that exercise any board powers. Generally, we favor procedures that are more transparent, and with a few tweaks to how a board conducts its activities, a board can comply with the requirements without significant cost or inconvenience. With regard to OPEN MEETINGS, WUCIOA is friendlier to associations in several respects:
  1. WUCIOA requires much more transparency about what boards are doing, so that owners who want to be informed can be (yes, this is a good thing).
  2. It provides more opportunity for owners who care to be informed about what boards are doing, and what information boards are reviewing.
  3. It clarifies that boards may meet in executive session (excluding owners) and sets out a list of topics that can be discussed in executive session.
  4. It specifically allows for the expulsion of a community member who is disruptive (after a warning by the chair of the meeting).
  5. It allows board meetings by conference call, but only if owners can listen in as well.
  6. Challenges to a board’s failure to comply with meeting requirements must be made within 90 days after the meeting minutes were approved or distributed to owners (that later of those two dates).
  7. “Ministerial” actions may be taken by the board with unanimous written consent of the board members.
With regard to OPEN MEETINGS, WUCIOA may be more difficult for associations, or leaves unanswered questions, in several respects:
  1. WUCIOA requires all board and board committee meetings to be open.
  2. It requires 14 days’ notice of board meetings to all owners if they are not regularly scheduled, and not an emergency.
  3. Boards are not allowed to take a final vote during executive sessions.
  4. Board meetings must be held at the community, or convenient to the community, unless the owners amend the bylaws to allow otherwise.
  5. Board meetings must provide an owner comment period. (Does not require this for committee meetings.)
  6. Copies of all material considered at board meetings must be available to owners (except unapproved minutes, and material reviewed in executive session).
  7. Only “ministerial” actions may be taken by the board with unanimous written consent of the board members. This is more restrictive than current.
  8. Clarifies that board members may not vote by proxy or absentee ballots.
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.