Barker Martin

Glossary of Terms


Generally used to mean the regular amount chargeable by the association against a unit or lot for for the owner’s share common expenses including regular and special assessments.  Commonly includes charges and fines imposed by an association depending on jurisdiction or definition in governing documents.


Referring to the Board of Directors of a community association. The Board is the governing body with primary authority to manage the affairs of the association. 


The second tier of an association’s governing documents, often covering day-to-day administrative and governance issues.  Bylaws are not required to be recorded in Washington, but are recorded in Oregon.  When the terms of the Bylaws are in conflict with a Declaration, the Declaration will control.

Building Enclosure

Generally, the exterior of a building including exterior cladding, roofs, decks, patios and other exterior features of a building.  The building enclosure often includes weatherproofing is not limited to, that portion of roofs, walls, balcony support columns, decks, windows, doors, vents, and other penetrations through exterior walls, which waterproof, weatherproof, or otherwise protect the building or its components from water or moisture intrusion.” 

Building Envelope

(See building enclosure.)


A condominium is created by recording a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.  Its characteristics may include multi-story buildings, townhomes or single family homes and can be physically indistinguishable from a other common interest communities. 


A conversion typically refers to an existing building, such as an apartment, that has been “converted” into condominiums by filing a Declaration and selling units.  A conversion condominium Declarant may or may not do any work to improve the apartments prior to converting them.


As used in this Guide, “COA” refers to a condominium owners’ association


CC&Rs stands for “Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.”  It is also used synonymously with “Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions” or just “Declaration.”  The CC&Rs contain the conditions to ownership of the unit within an owners’ association that burden the ownership of the property or “run with the land.”


The short name for “Declaration of Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions,” sometimes referred to as the CC&Rs.  The recording of the Declaration is what creates a condominium.

Express Warranty

A contract may include an express warranty for a specific period of time that covers particular, or express, items or workmanship.  The Oregon Condominium Act contains a provision wherein the Declarant of a condominium shall expressly warrant against defects in the plumbing, electrical, mechanical, structural, and all other components of the newly constructed units and common elements.  ORS 100.185.

Governing Documents

The governing documents of an association include the Declaration (CC&Rs), Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and any Rules and Regulations.  A condominium’s survey map and plans are sometimes considered part of the governing documents as well. 


Homeowners’ association that governs a common interest community other than a condominum.  While both condominiums and single family homes can have homeowners’ associations, HOA is often used to describe non-condominium associations.  HOAs in Washington are controlled by the Homeowners' Association Act at RCW 64.38; HOAs in Oregon are controlled by the Planned Community Act at ORS 94.550, et seq.

Implied Warranties

The term “implied warranties” is often used synonymously with statutory warranties, though there are other warranties that can be implied by contract or common law. An example of a common law warranty is the implied warranty of habitability, that applies to original home purchasers for both condominiums and single family homes.

Master Association

A master association will have one or more sub-associations that can be comprised of sub-HOAs or sub-COAs.  For COAs, there may be both a residential condominium and a commercial condominium created by the same Declarant on one site.  See “Sub-associations” below.

Public Offering Statement

In Washington, the Public Offering Statement, or POS, is a document that is prepared by a Declarant for the original purchasers of condominium units. It must contain certain statutory disclosures found in RCW 64.34.410 and RCW 64.34.415. Failure to provide a Public Offering Statement results in statutory penalties to the Declarant.

Special Assessment

A special assessment is an assessment that is levied for a particular purpose beyond that anticipated in the annual budget.  In Washington, a COA Board generally has the authority to levy a special assessment, subject to the same ratification process used for approving an annual budget.

Special Meeting

Any meeting of an association (owners) or Board that is not a regularly scheduled meeting.  Generally, the only regular meeting for owners is the annual meeting, so all other meetings are special meetings.  Special meetings often have special notice requirements.


Master associations include two or more sub-associations.  See “Master Associations” above.  A sub-association is subject to the terms of both the master association Declaration and sub-association Declaration.


The term “Unit” can be used generically to refer to each person’s residential structure in an HOA (though HOA governing documents ordinarily refer to a “Lot” or “Home”), but it has a specific meaning with regard to condominiums. In Washington, aA condominium Unit is the physical portion of the condominium designated for separate ownership.  While Declarations may differ as to the physical definition of a Unit, a Unit owner is generally responsible for maintenance and repair of his or her own Unit.