WUCIOA – What is it, and why should my community association care? Topic 5: Electronic Notice

WUCIOA provides for electronic notice to members who “opt in” to such notice. (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 allows for electronic notice to members, which could substantially reduce the cost to send notice to the members. The statute requires that notice to members be given in the form of a record, which it defines as information inscribed on a tangible medium or contained in an electronic transmission. The statute defines an electronic transmission as a record that may be retained, retrieved, and reviewed by the sender and the recipient of the communication, and that may be directly reproduced in a tangible medium by a sender or recipient. So, an email that can be printed on paper qualifies. Web postings that can be viewed and printed may also qualify. With regard to ELECTRONIC NOTICE, WUCIOA is friendlier to associations in several respects:
  1. WUCIOA allows notice by electronic transmission, even if the bylaws and declaration are silent on the matter.
  2. Email notice will work for regular members and board members who consent to such notice, and for all purposes.
  3. Any other kind of material that you would send to an owner or board member can be sent electronically if they have consented to electronic notice.
  4. Electronic notices are deemed delivered on the date it is sent.
  5. In addition to electronic notice, WUCIOA allows notice by any other method reasonably calculated to provide notice to the recipient.
  6. The ineffectiveness of a good-faith effort to deliver notice by an authorized means does not invalidate action taken at or without a meeting.
With regard to ELECTRONIC NOTICE, WUCIOA may be more difficult for associations, or leaves unanswered questions, in several respects:
  1. WUCIOA requires each owner to have consented in a “record” that they will accept notice by email or other electronic transmission.
  2. Owners can revoke their consent for electronic notice at any time by sending another record.
  3. If you know that the method of electronic notice has failed two times in a row, it is automatically revoked.
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.