Washington State Appellate Court published opinion (September 2, 2014).

This case involves a dispute between a homeowners association (Association) and its members over the percentage of unit owner voter approval that is needed to pass an amendment to the Association’s declaration that restricts the leasing of units within the Association. The primary issue in the dispute involved a determination of whether or not the word “use” as used in both the Association’s declaration and the Washington Condominium Act (WCA) encompasses the leasing of units. If so, both the Association’s declaration and the WCA require a 90% vote of the members in order to amend the Association’s declaration to modify the restrictions on leasing units within the Association. If not, the amendment that was adopted based on a 67% vote of the members was valid.

The trial court invalidated the Associations amendments to its declaration which were passed by 67 percent of the unit owners voting based on the Courts determination that restriction on leasing requires 90 percent approval. On review, the appellate court found that “the uses to which any unit is restricted,” in the WCA and in the Associations declaration encompasses leasing as a “use” of the property. Thus, a lease restriction that is contained in an amendment to an associations declaration requires a 90 percent vote. Because the amendment in question was passed with a 67 percent vote of the Associations membership, it was invalid.

See case decision:Filmore_LLLP_v._Unit_Owners_