We've been writing about several Bills on this Blog lately because there is a lot of prospective legislation (both locally and nationally) affecting homeowner associations and individual homeowners. The level of legislative activity in this area appears to have increased probably in part as fallout from the economic crisis.
As an update, H.R. 1106 "Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009" remains stalled in the U.S. Senate, with no scheduled date for a vote (click here to keep track of the Bill). In Washington, ESSB 1393, "Addressing residential real property construction improvements through consumer education, warranty protections, contractor registration requirements, and worker certification standards," is similarly stalled in the state Senate. An earlier version of the Bill passed in the House, but is undergoing major rewrites in the Senate. One of the latest versions, Striker 1393-S2.E AMS WM S2889.2, can be found here. I believe the Striker version is wholly impractical and inefficient. For example, the Striker establishes a 7-person "Home Construction Board" to resolve construction disputes. The Board would be comprised of four construction professionals of varying experience, a governmental building inspector and two members "of the general public." The board members would be appointed by the governor and meet at least four times per year. Doesn't sound to me like an effective or efficient way to resolve hundreds, if not thousands, of construction disputes filed in our state each year. To keep track of ESSB 1393, click here.
The Oregon legislature is also debating several Bills that affect homeowners and homeowner associations, including SB 811 and SB 963. SB 811 modifies provisions relating to enforcement of liens for association assessments in planned communities and condominiums, including establishment of a "super lien priority" for associations. SB 963 includes several technical changes regarding governance for planned communities and condominiums in Oregon. For specific information on the Bills and to track their progress, click here.
Several Barker Martin, P.S. attorneys remain highly active in the Washington and Oregon legislative process, including serving on legislative committees for homeowner association industry groups. On occasion, we also are asked to review and help draft prospective legislation. Keep checking this Blog to obtain the latest legislative developments affecting homeowners.