How does a Community Adopt WUCIOA?

For currently existing condos, co-ops, and homeowner associations, there is a process to adopt the Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (“WUCIOA”). First the owners must vote to amend the declaration and choose to be governed by WUCIOA. Second, the board must vote to amend the declaration to remove provisions which directly conflict with WUCIOA. Finally, the owners can vote to adopt optional WUCIOA provisions, and delete or change non-conflicting provisions in the declaration. 1. The first step is to switch the community's governing statute to WUCIOA. This process is outlined in section 120 of the act. To make this change:

a) The board must prepare an amendment to the declaration and send it to all of the owners. This is a short document. b) The board must wait 30 or more days and then hold an association meeting on the amendment. c) Next, the board must set a deadline for the owners to complete voting, and send the owners the final proposed amendment with a ballot for their vote. d) The amendment will pass if at least 30% of the owners vote and 67% of votes approve. e) The amendment is effective when recorded.

2. The second step is to bring the declaration in line with the provisions of WUCIOA as instructed by section 218(11)(d). To do so the board must:

a) Draft a declaration amendment to delete and replace provisions which conflict with WUCIOA. b) Send the amendment to the owners along with notice that in 30 or more days an association meeting will be held. c) The owners must have an opportunity to comment on the amendment at this meeting. d) The amendment may then be approved by two-thirds of the board. No vote of the owners is required to adopt this amendment. e) The amendment is effective when recorded.

3. The final step is to adopt the optional WUCIOA provisions and remove old declaration provisions not in conflict with WUCIOA. This step is not mandatory but allows the association to:

i. Remove declarant rights, and declarant control references; ii. Consolidate governance issues in the bylaws; iii. Allocate expenses against the units which benefit from those expenses; iv. Assess the HOA insurance deductible to unit owners; and v. Assess expenses to a unit for their or their guest’s ordinary negligence.

To make these changes, the association must amend the declaration by following the steps in the statute. These changes will be effective when recorded.

Please contact us if you have any questions about whether adopting WUCIOA is the right choice for your community, or if you need assistance with the steps detailed in this article.