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Bilanko v. Barclay CourtOpinion: 4/28/16

Bilanko is the most recent addition to the ongoing saga in Washington law and the enforceability of condominium declaration amendments under the WCA (RCW 64.34).  Bilanko involved a homeowner challenge to the enforceability of a declaration amendment that restricted unit rentals.  In a unanimous decision, the Washington Supreme Court held the unit owner's challenge untimely and time barred under RCW 64.34.264(2), which requires any challenge to the validity of an amendment to be brought within one year of the amendment's recording.  The Washington Supreme Court did not explicitly overturn Fillmore or Club Envy, but certainly limited the application of those decisions to many existing declaration amendments.  At first glance, the case may appear to validate amendments recorded at least one year ago absent fraud or wrong doing.  Unfortunately, as is often the case (pun intended), the Bilanko decision isn't quite that straight forward.  Associations who have recorded statements or included language in resale certificates nullifying or declining to enforce prior amendments as a result of Filmore, however, should definitely revisit the issue in light of this case.

Stay tuned for additional insight on this case and its interplay with existing statute and other recent case law.  For now, questions regarding declaration amendments, particularly those related to unit rentals, remain unanswered and will continue to be issues that Washington condo associations must deal with on an association by association basis, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the amendment at issue.

You can find a copy of the Bilanko v. Barclay Court Owners Association decision here