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Law as it Relates to Condos & HOAs

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Tower Condominiums and Mixed-Use Condominiums

The last few years have brought with them a substantial upturn in development of large tower condominiums and multi-use condominiums in the Pacific Northwest, predominantly Seattle and Portland. Such condominiums often include multi-million dollar units, high-end retail stores and anchor hotel or grocery store chains. Each of these divergent segments is coalesced into a single […]

New Fannie Mae Condo Lending Rules

In February, I wrote about stiffening mortgage underwriting polices adopted by mortgage lenders on loans for condominium purchasers.  This rule tighten was a direct result of the sub-prime lending crisis plaguing our nation’s banks and lending institutions.  These changes included Federal National Loan Association (“Fannie Mae”) altering its lending policies on condominiums to include a Full Review Required. Under the Full Review, lenders are […]

View Covenants: How Far Can a HOA Go?

Many homeowner associations have covenants within their CC&Rs that limit a homeowner’s right to restrict a neighbor’s view.  For a view covenant to be legally enforceable, it must be included within a validly recorded instrument, such as the association’s declaration or plat.  The covenants may include structures (e.g., homes, detached garages, sheds, fences, etc.), vegetation […]

Dealing With Problematic Homeowners

One of the biggest challenges a homeowner board faces is irrational conduct by a problematic homeowner.  I’ve seen this scenario play out in several ways, with all of them sharing the same underlying themes: unnecessary conflict, wasted time and increased management and legal fees. In two similar instances, condominium homeowners whose units were damaged by water intrusion emanating from […]

The Sky is Falling…The Sky is Falling!

Recent turbulent economic news and tumbling Wall Street markets continue to bring much doom and gloom to individual homeowners and homeowner association board members, alike.  Unprecedented foreclosure rates, downward spiraling home sales and ever tightening homeowner and association loan underwriting requirements compund the crisis.  Earlier this year, I wrote a blog entry (Association Dislcosure and Board Action in a Down Market; February 7, 2008) that contained several steps […]

Associations and Holiday Decorations

Colorado attorney and blogger Stan Jezierski wrote a recent post entitled Holiday Decorations and the Fair Housing Act.  Although many persons are tired of hearing of controversies over something as seemingly innocuous as holiday decorations, as evidenced by the recent headlines the State of Washington created for its holiday display in the capitol building in Olympia, I thought this was a […]

Uptick in Condo Auctions

In an article in this week’s Stranger blog, blogger Dominic Holden reported on a recent auction of new condominium units in downtown Seattle: This is the new normal,” says Rhett Winchell, president of Beverly Hills-based Kennedy Wilson Auction Group, which was auctioning 15 units of the Capitol Hill Press Condos today. The company held 30 auctions nationwide […]

HOAs Experiencing Underfunded Finances

An article in Sunday’s Arizona Republic highlights an issue we also have seen in the Pacific Northwest, especially in the Oregon real estate marketplace.  As reporter Craig Anderson writes: Developer abandonment is likely to become a serious issue in the coming year for as many as 200 of the more than 10,000 Arizona communities under HOA control, both opponents […]

New Fannie Mae Condominium Lending Guidelines

Last August I blogged that Fannie Mae was altering its lending practices in response to the sub-prime lending crisis. As the crisis deepened, the adverse impact upon the US economy and Fannie Mae only worsened. Since the government’s restructuring of Fannie Mae last fall, we have been awaiting revised lending guidelines for condominium properties. Those guidelines were just released in late December under Announcement 08-34.  […]

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