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Subject: Must an HOA be in RCW compliance to act?
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09/15/2020 9:37 PM  
We are fairly new to an HOA of about 100 lots. I would appreciate the advice of more seasoned HOA participants.
I received a packet in the mail with a cover letter. It said the annual meeting had been canceled due to Covid 19, but please review the attached Covenant changes and return the enclosed ballot approving them, or not. The changes were extensive and gave a lot of power to the Board.
Then the website posted a notice which referred to “our Virtual Meeting” and the changes had been passed.

As far as I can tell, Board meetings have not been open to the members. There is no provision for mail-in ballots or the counting and certification of the results. There is a provision that Covenants would be approved by a majority of members attending an annual meeting.
. Here is my question:
1. Is correspondence considered a virtual meeting?
2. Is it necessary for a Board to be in Compliance with RCW Statutes in order to exercise its authority?
3. Can an HOA Board assume the authority to change the Covenants, without being governed, itself, by State Statute, in acquiring this authority.

I am confused.


09/16/2020 4:57 AM  

Sorry to hear you are having issues within your Association.

In response to your questions:

1 - No However, that doesn't mean that there wasn't one and you simply did not recieve or overlooked a notice about it.

2 - No Unfortunately, it happens. Boards fail to comply with governing documents or statutes. Also unfortunately, if the board refuses to listen to concerns about doing this, the only remedies are:

a) Live with it.
b) Gather support and replace the board.
c) Challenge the boards actions in court

3) - Yes Unless somebody speaks up, gathers support and do one of the actions above.



09/16/2020 5:05 AM  

Can you please cite the section about amending the covenants (leaving out any mention of Association name)?

Typically, a high percentage is needed to amend covenants, not a simple majority of those in attendance.

Statues require 34% for a quorum (unless governing documents say otherwise).
With 100 lots, that is a minimum of 34 lots represented in person or by proxy.
If 18 voted in favor of the changes, then, per what you provided, the covenants can change.
Again, typically 3/4 of the members must agree to change covenants. This is why I ask that you verify and cite the language in that section.


09/16/2020 6:06 AM  
Sign that the current board doesn't know what it's doing: a single ballot covering multiple changes. In practice this means that a change that is popular with the community could be voted down because of other, unpalatable changes that the majority do not want. Individual changes should be voted on separately. A single piece of paper is OK as long as each change has its own Yes/No check boxes.

Who drafted these changes: the board or an attorney? If the board did the work, there is a very good chance that at least some of the new provisions do not comply with state law and will be invalid and unenforceable even if the community approves them. They're setting themselves up for legal woes when people go to court.

For what it's worth, I always vote No if I suspect I'm being railroaded. Based on what the OP said, that may be what's going on here.



09/16/2020 5:27 PM  
Thank you for that input.
It’s all okay except for the meeting. No meeting.
The provision for changing the covenants states: “unless changed and agreed upon by a majority vote of the members casting a ballot at a general meeting.”
Regarding the ballot, it does follow the parameters you mention, of a separate box for each change. There is a detailed explanation and a red-lined version of the original.
The worst changes are lifted from a neighboring large HOA whose bullying and conflict is legendary. They have a big budget for lawyers.
The website says there was a quorum and lists the talley. Quorum for what? Their first letter states the annual meeting is canceled.
The problem is with the meeting. There was no meeting. I emailed and must have convinced them that there had to be one. I sent them the RCW links, as well as the existing covenant I quoted above.
So the next thing, it deceptively states on the website that all this was actually a “Virtual Meeting”.
I am wondering if this train has left the station, or if there is something I should be doing.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Must an HOA be in RCW compliance to act?

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