If you are in the process of forming a homeowners' association in Washington or have taken on a leadership role in the organization, then you need to know about the relevant Washington HOA laws. However, understanding complex legal terminology isn't easy if you aren't a lawyer.

The good news is that we have broken it down for you to make it easier for you to ensure that your HOA complies with the relevant legislation. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about homeowners' associations.

What Are Homeowners' Associations?

A homeowners' association (HOA) is an entity created to form, maintain, and enforce certain reasonable rules and regulations in common interest communities to maintain the value of the properties in the neighborhood, community, or apartment complex.

They might restrict the colors homeowners may use on external walls to maintain the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood or limit the types of fencing that may be installed to ensure uniformity throughout all units.

HOAs also enforce certain architectural guidelines and landscaping rules to maintain property values and are responsible for maintaining shared spaces, such as clubhouses, swimming pools, parks, and more.

HOA Governing Documents

Numerous federal, state, and local laws regulate these associations, and they also maintain their own governing documents, such as Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions.

In addition, the association's governing documents include information about property use limitations, community governance, and rules. They are legally enforceable and contribute to the preservation of order and property values in common interest communities.

An Overview of Washington HOA Laws

Although we couldn't possibly cover all the laws that pertain to HOAs, we have compiled a list of the most pertinent to give you a good understanding of how property owners and condominium associations are to be run in Washington.

Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA)

Homeowners' associations in Washington are governed by the WUCIOA. This act applies to all common interest communities, including planned developments and condominiums. It was enacted in 2018 and outlines the regulations for the development, operations, and management of such organizations.

In addition, it handles concerns such as association governance, assessments, operational duties, and the resolution of disputes. WUCIOA also protects homeowners' rights as consumers and ensures openness in association activities.

This legislation aims to offer a standard framework for common interest communities across Washington, supporting peaceful living conditions and preserving the rights and interests of both property owners and HOAs.

Washington Condominium Act

Condominiums in Washington are also governed by the Washington Condominium Act, which may be found in RCW Chapter 64.34. It was passed in 1990 and establishes legal guidelines for the development, maintenance, and control of condominiums.

The statute defines condominium incorporation standards, specifies the rights and obligations of homeowners, and regulates the operations of the association. Budgeting, shared area maintenance, and conflict resolution are all covered.

Washington State Civil Rights Act

This act protects the right to equal access to all available housing. It prevents discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, sexual orientation, military status, and disability.

Federal Flag Display Law

In addition to the state laws mentioned above, there are other federal laws you will need to know about. The federal flag display law is one of them. As detailed in the United States Flag Code, this legislation specifies how to display the American flag.

It addresses issues such as correct handling, respectful treatment, and appropriate circumstances for flag display. According to this law, HOAs are not allowed to ban or restrict the display of a US national flag.

The Rights and Responsibilities of HOAs in Washington

Next, we'll look at some of the rights and responsibilities of Washington homeowners' associations.

Maintenance, Repair, and General Upkeep

The HOA is in charge of the upkeep of all common spaces in the neighborhood. This might include ensuring that the lawn is mowed and the swimming pool is clean and safe for use.


A homeowners' association has the authority to request regular payments from homeowners, known as dues or assessments, in order to develop a budget for its maintenance and administration needs.

HOAs in Washington State also have the right to collect special assessments to fund certain projects for the betterment of the community at large.

Association Records

Community Associations are also responsible for preparing records, such as a budget, financial statements, proof of expenditure, minutes of all meetings, and the personal details of its members. Property management software can help with this. If you're looking for powerful accounting features to help you generate financial statements, you can turn to DoorLoop!


Moreover, the board of directors is responsible for maintaining insurance policies on all shared assets. It is required to have insurance on property, fidelity insurance, and business insurance for general liability. Keep in mind that the community declaration may demand additional insurance. The insurance policy must pay a minimum of 80 percent of the monetary value of the insured assets.

Fines for Non-compliance or Unpaid Assessments

HOAs in Washington can impose fines on homeowners for failing to comply with its rules and regulations. It may also charge fines for late payments. However, no association in Washington is allowed to fine a homeowner for the following:

  • Raising the US national flag as long as it is done in accordance with the federal flag display law
  • Not watering vegetation and grass during droughts
  • Solar energy panel installation
  • Setting up political yard signs
  • Utilizing drought-resistant or wildfire-resistant landscaping
  • Putting up a flagpole for hoisting the national flag 

Keep in mind that the governing documents of an HOA might contain reasonable limitations and guidelines concerning the placement and method used to showcase the national flag, solar panels, and signs.

Liens and Foreclosure

In Washington, a HOA can foreclose on a homeowner's home for unpaid assessments. It's important to note here that the association may not foreclose a home in its community without first obtaining approval from the board of directors and sending a delinquency notice via certified mail to the delinquent property owner.

Moreover, the organization cannot foreclose on the property unless the owner owes at least three months' worth of fees or $200 (whichever is more). This amount excludes any interest, fines, attorney's fees, late charges, and collection costs incurred by the community association.

How to Leave or Join HOAs in Washington State

If an individual buys a house in an area with an established community association, they are obligated to join and follow the HOA regulations. At the time of closing of their property purchase, homeowners must be given documentation that clarifies the HOA and its bylaws.

This means that those who own properties within common interest communities governed by HOAs will not be able to just opt out of the association. The only way for a member to leave is by selling their house or petitioning the homeowner's association to have their property withdrawn from the HOA.

Dissolving a Homeowners' Association in Common Interest Communities

HOAs can be dissolved, and the process for dissolving a particular homeowners' association can be found in its governing documents. However, if this information cannot be found in the governing documents, a majority vote of at least 80 percent of members is required to approve the dissolution.

If accepted, the HOA members who agreed will need to sign a termination agreement, pay off any outstanding debts, and dispose of the association's assets. Thereafter, the Articles of Dissolution will need to be filed with the Washington Secretary of State and registered in the relevant county.

About DoorLoop's HOA Tools

If you are looking for the right tools to help you manage an HOA in Washington, then look no further than DoorLoop. With an innovative set of features that can help you remain compliant with the laws that govern common interest communities in the state and a user-friendly interface that will ensure that you are able to find and use the tools you need, DoorLoop is sure to make your job easier.

You get access to an innovative communication portal that lets you send important notices to member of the community and track task completion with ease.

You also get world-class support when you sign up for our intuitive software, which ensures that you have access to the help you need if anything goes wrong.

Now, you can try it out for yourself! Contact us today to learn more or get a free demo!

Final Thoughts

Running an HOA can be challenging. However, with the right tools at your fingertips, you can ensure that your association remains compliant. The best part is that you can try DoorLoop's innovative HOA management software out for free, with no strings attached!

Get in touch with us today, and let's get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does a Washington HOA need to have a board of directors?

Yes, homeowners' associations in Washington are required to have their own board of directors. Board members are in charge of running the homeowner's association, making decisions, implementing community regulations, and governing financial matters.

The specific guidelines for the structure and functioning of the board are usually described in the HOA's governing documents, which generally specify the number of directors, their functions, and how they are elected.

2. Are Washington HOA regulations public records?

Yes, governing documents in Washington are considered public records. They have to be filed with the county land records in order to be considered valid. Anyone can request them by going to the county clerk's office.

You may also be able to access these documents online via the Washington State Corporations and Charities Filing System here.

3. Who pays the attorneys' fees in a dispute that is settled in court?

In Washington, the prevailing party is responsible for paying the cost of hiring a lawyer for legal counsel and representation. In the same manner, the winning party may also have to cover other costs associated with addressing the matter in a federal court.

4. Can HOA governing documents be amended?

Yes, governing documents may be altered, provided at least sixty-seven percent of members vote in favor of the proposed amendment. Once approved, the amendment has to be recorded and submitted in the county, or counties where the neighborhood is located.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!