Ever Wonder Why Everything Is By Mail?
Here’s a guest post from Sergey Petrov of Yalnes, a condo management firm and Urban Living advertiser.
Do you ever wonder why Community Associations (and/or management companies) send everything by mail? It seems just about everybody is on email these days… Unfortunately, legislation has not yet quite caught up with modern technology and official / formal communication must be mailed to owners via USPS postage pre-paid to achieve legal notice. Some local law firms found a way to incorporate language into Association Declarations (via Amendments) to allow for some documents to be sent via email. Washington State Community Association Institute’s (WSCAI) initiatives to amend state laws to allow meeting notices to be sent by email failed second year in a row. See below for additional information.
More legislative updates are below, including one regarding a law which would require Community Association Managers to be licensed as real estate brokers. This year, WSCAI was successful in passing an amendment to existing laws to exempt Association Managers from having to obtain a real estate license. I was one of the individuals who testified on the differences between property management and community association management (they really are two different industries) in Olympia in support of both, the Senate and the House Bills.
Sergey A. Petrov, PCAM
From: Michelle Leary @ WSCAI
Subject: WSCAI’s March 8th Legislative Update
Regular Legislative Session Ends today
WSCAI Legislative Action Committee (LAC) Update
March 8, 2012
The 2012 regular 60-day legislative session is scheduled to end by midnight tonight. At this time a special session is looking like a strong possibility in an effort to deal with the operating budget. If the Governor calls a special session it will most likely be limited to budget related issues only.
There are a few pieces of legislation that dealt directly with community associations, below is a recap of those bills:
1. Common Interest Community Managers – Substitute Senate Bill 6325 exempts CICMs from having to become a licensed real estate broker. The WSCAI LAC drafted this legislation and worked with lawmakers to move it through the process. The legislation is necessary because the Department of Licensing notified WSCAI that if the legislature does not act this legislative session the Department will enforce their interpretation of the law and require CICMs to be licensed real estate brokers. The DOL interpretation does not benefit the homeowners who hire CICMs, nor the CICMs themselves. This bill passed the House of Representatives and the State Senate unanimously. We are now awaiting the Governor to take action.
State Senator Janea Holmquist-Newbry (R-Moses Lake) prime sponsored the legislation that is now before the Governor. Representative Mary Helen Roberts (D-Lynnwood) sponsored a House version of the bill, both legislators were key to the passage of the legislation. However, without the advocacy of WSCAI members and active participation of those who came to Olympia to testify before committees we would not have been successful. The LAC thanks all who were active on this legislation.
2. Electronic Notice of Meetings – House Bill 1259, prime sponsored by Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), is a carryover from the 2011 session. It would allow for meeting notices to be sent by electronic transmission as long as the owner provides written consent. The original bill allowed electronic transmission unless an owner elected otherwise. It was amended to address our concerns to require an ‘opt in’ as opposed to ‘opt out’ requirement for electronic notification. Unfortunately this bill failed to pass before the designated deadline and is now considered “dead”.
3. Quorum Requirements – Senate Bill 6294, prime sponsored by Senator Craig Pridemore (D-Vancouver), comes from a HOA in Vancouver where most the homes are owned by the bank and fulfilling quorum requirements are nearly impossible.
Under the proposed legislation if an association requires more than 34 percent of the votes of the association be present for a quorum at a meeting of the association, any owner of that association who has at least 10 percent of the votes in the association (or at least three owners in associations with ten or less properties), may petition the court in the county where the association is located to lower the quorum requirement to 34 percent.
We supported this legislation, but unfortunately it failed to pass before the designated deadline and is now considered “dead”.