Rights of Condominium Owners Washington

In Washington, the statutory form of condominium was first authorized with the passage of the Horizontal Property Regimes Act. 2 WASHINGTON STATE BAR ASS'N, REAL PROPERTY DESKBOOK 41.5 (2d ed. 1986). All condominiums created in this state after July 1, 1990 come under another regime: the Condominium Act, RCW 64.34. RCW 64.34.010. Because condominiums are statutory creations, the rights and duties of condominium unit owners are not the same as those of real property owners at common law. McElveen-Hunter v. Fountain Manor Ass'n, Inc., 96 N.C. App. 627, 386 S.E.2d 435, 436 (1989), aff'd, 328 N.C. 84, 399 S.E.2d 112 (1991). "Central to the concept of condominium ownership is the principle that each owner, in exchange for the benefits of association with other owners, 'must give up a certain degree of freedom of choice which he or she might otherwise enjoy in separate, privately owned property.'" Noble v. Murphy, 34 Mass. App. Ct. 452, 456, 612 N.E.2d 266 (1993) (quoting Hidden Harbour Estates, Inc. v. Norman, 309 So. 2d 180, 182, 72 A.L.R.3d 305 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1975)). The rights given up by the unit owners are determined by the statute. RCW 64.32 makes all owners subject to the chapter and "to the declaration and bylaws of the association of apartment owners adopted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter." RCW 64.32.250(1). The chapter also states that each owner "shall comply strictly with the bylaws and with the administrative rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, as either may be lawfully amended from time to time . . . ." RCW 64.32.060. The court in McElveen-Hunter applied a statute similar to RCW 64.32 to a declaration amendment which restricted leasing and which was being challenged by a plaintiff who had bought her unit before the amendment was adopted. McElveen-Hunter, 96 N.C. App. 627, 386 S.E.2d 435. Like the Horizontal Property Regimes Act, the North Carolina statute permits restrictions to be imposed by the declaration or recorded instrument which submits the property to the provisions of the chapter and allows the unit owners to amend the declaration by following the procedures prescribed and makes the rules adopted binding upon all owners. McElveen-Hunter, 386 S.E.2d at 436. The court found that the amendment restricting leasing does not infringe upon any legal right of the plaintiff's because she had notice before the units were bought that the declaration was changeable. Id. Other cases have held that a duly adopted amendment either restricting occupancy or leasing is binding upon condominium unit owners who bought their units before the amendments were effective. See: Hill v. Fontaine Condominium Ass'n, 255 Ga. 24, 334 S.E.2d 690 (1985); Ritchey v. Villa Nueva Condominium Ass'n, 81 Cal. App. 3d 688, 146 Cal. Rptr. 695, 100 A.L.R.3d 231 (1978); Seagate Condominium Ass'n v. Duffy, 330 So. 2d 484 (Fla. App. 1976); Kroop v. Caravelle Condominium, Inc., 323 So. 2d 307 (Fla. App. 1975).