BEWARE: A Legal Challenge To Condominium Declaration (“CCRs”) Amendments Will Likely Fail If Not Commenced Within 1 Year

A recent Washington Supreme Court Case, Bilanko v. Barclay Court Owners Association, Wn.2d (2016) makes it clear that a legal challenge to an improperly adopted amendment to condominium CCRs must be brought within 1 year of the recording of the amendment.

In Bilanko the Court considered an amendment to the CCRs for a condominium community that restricted the number of units that could be leased at any one time. The amendment was voted on by the Association membership garnering the affirmative vote of over 2/3rds of the owners as required by the existing CCRs. It was deemed adopted and was therefore recorded.

Several years later a new owner was prevented from renting his unit as a result of this Amendment. He sued to have the amendment declared invalid as not having been passed by a 90% vote of the owners as required by RCW 64.34.264(4) and the 2015 case of Filmore v. Unit Owners Association of Centre Pointe Condominium, 184 Wn.2d 170 (2015). Nevertheless, the Bilanko Court ruled that the challenge, though valid on its merits, was not timely filed. In this regard, the Court held that RCW 64.34.264(2) established a 1-year limitation period for such challenges, and thus the Amendment was upheld, because no legal challenge was brought within the required 1-year period.

Lesson To Be Learned:

While there are very limited exceptions to this 1-year deadline – as where the Board President unilaterally and fraudulently recorded CCRs amendments in the earlier case of Club Envy of Spokane v. Ridpath Tower Condo. Ass’n, 134 Wn.App. 593 (2014) – a challenge to an invalid condominium CCRs amendment must be made by filing suit within 1 year of the recording of the amendment.

Challenges to CCRs amendments in non-condominium communities are subject to different rules and considerations as neither RCW 64.34.264 nor the Bilanko Court’s analysis apply the non-condominium planned communities.

Please contact us if you have legal questions related to condominium and non-condominium communities.

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