Q: Is Scott Lake Maintenance Company a Homeowners’ Association?
A: Yes. Scott Lake Maintenance Company (SLMC) is a Homeowners’ Association (HOA).
RCW 64.38.010 (12) “Homeowners’ association” or “association” means a corporation, unincorporated association, or other legal entity, each member of which is an owner of residential real property located within the association’s jurisdiction, as described in the governing documents, and by virtue of membership or ownership of property is obligated to pay real property taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance costs, or for improvement of real property other than that which is owned by the member. “Homeowners’ association” does not mean an association created under chapter 64.32 or 64.34 RCW.
The SLMC Annual Report on file with the Washington Secretary of State’s Office identifies Scott Lake Maintenance Company as a Homeowners’ Association.
Q: What is the difference between the Board of Trustees meetings and the Homeowners’ Association meeting?
A: Board of Trustees meeting is for the elected Board Members to conduct the regular and ongoing business of the Association. These meetings are open to association members (property owners) for observation. There is also a member comment section on the agenda for each Board of Trustees meeting giving a designated opportunity for property owners to address the board. Homeowners’ Association meetings are for all association members (property owners) to receive the new budget, hear reports, vote for Board candidates and discuss items of common interest which pertain to the Association. The Bylaws specify that twenty percent of the membership constitutes a quorum necessary for the membership to take action at membership meetings. Once a quorum is established, a vote can proceed. If a vote is held, the majority of the vote, of the voting body, determines the decision.
Q: Is the Board of Trustees compensated?
A: No. The Board of Trustees is comprised of elected members of the association who serve in a volunteer capacity. Members of the Board of Trustees are in no way compensated for serving on the Scott Lake Maintenance Company Board of Trustees. Except if a board member has been elected as either an Executive Secretary, Assistant Treasure or Assistant Secretary.
Q: Can I participate in meetings if I don’t have access to Zoom?
A: Yes! Members can attend meetings through a simple telephone dial-in option. Members who are unable to attend meetings may also submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org to be read aloud during the “Member Comment” portion of meetings. Members may also designate proxies for the Annual Meeting. The proxy form is available here.
Q: When I bought my home in Scott Lake, my Realtor and/or Title Company didn’t advise me this was an HOA?
A: Some members are apparently contending that because they were not “told” that they would be
members of the SLMC, they are either exempt or have the right to opt out of membership. That is a
misconception. In Washington, it does not matter if the seller or real estate agent specifically
informed the buyer that they will become members of an HOA; indeed, if that were the law, it would
constitute an easy end-run around being a member of an HOA. Instead, the law is that a buyer is said
to have either constructive notice or inquiry notice of documents that have been recorded against the
property being purchased and the facts and circumstances available to a reasonable purchaser.
While many people fail to closely read their title insurance policies or deed, both of those documents
would have referred to SLMC covenants that have been recorded against each lot in the Scott Lake
Plats. A buyer could have also performed a search for such documents with the Thurston County
Auditor. A buyer who didn’t understand the effect of any of those documents would have been under
a legal obligation to inquire further before purchasing.
Q: How can the Board of Directors raise our assessments?
A: By law, assessments are imposed on lots in an HOA through the budget process. The Board annually adopts a proposed budget and submits it to the membership for ratification. The budget identifies the assessments to be imposed on each lot. Unless more than 50% of the members in the Association vote to reject the budget, it is approved. (See RCW 64.90.525. This statute applies to all HOA’s per RCW 64.90.080(2)) If the members do reject the budget, then the previous budget remains in
Q: When did I become a member of SLMC?
A: Consistent with the foregoing statute, every person who purchases a lot in the Association
automatically becomes a member of SLMC. (SLMC Articles of Incorporation, Article III; SLMC Bylaws Article 2, Section 1.) This gives them the right to vote for directors, to attend meetings and to otherwise participate in the Association. It also renders the members subject to the governing documents of SLMC, including the bylaws.
Q: What gives the Board of Directors the power to assess or levy members?
A: RCW 64.38.020 Association powers. Unless otherwise provided in the governing documents, an association may:
(10) Impose and collect any payments, fees, or charges for the use, rental, or
operation of the common areas;
(11) Impose and collect charges for late payments of assessments and, after
notice and an opportunity to be heard by the board of directors or by the representative
designated by the board of directors and in accordance with the procedures as
provided in the bylaws or rules and regulations adopted by the board of directors, levy
reasonable fines in accordance with a previously established schedule adopted by the
board of directors and furnished to the owners for violation of the bylaws, rules, and
regulations of the association;
Consistent with the foregoing statute, the bylaws authorize assessments to be levied against
members and for the Association to enforce delinquencies by recording liens against such properties
and foreclosing on them.