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Condominium/Community Association Law

See Tony’s entire interview with ReelLawyers

Rafel Law Group represents community associations and handles both corporate governance matters and construction defect litigation. We help associations successfully transition from developer to homeowner control by advising the board of directors on the association’s legal rights and responsibilities under its CC&Rs and by setting up proper procedures for board action. We provide timely and thorough warranty reviews to make sure our clients’ rights are preserved and protected, and we work closely with building consultants and engineers so that defects and deficiencies are promptly identified and corrected. We help boards effectively plan and conduct annual and special homeowner meetings. And we provide ongoing advice and counsel, as associations mature, on matters such as rules enforcement, unpaid assessment collection, reserve studies, maintenance plans, unit modifications, and governing document revisions.

We have a very strong practice in construction defect litigation, representing only community associations in claims for faulty construction, not developers or contractors. We fully manage the claim process — site investigation, claim development, notice to declarant and owners, prosecution of the claim or suit, negotiation and mediation, trial and appeal if necessary — to minimize the burden on board members and community managers. And we continue to assist clients after their claims are resolved, by helping with the selection of repair contractors and construction managers and negotiating contracts with those vendors.  We have experience handling claims involving all aspects of building construction including roofs, siding, flashing, windows and doors, utilities, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, HVAC, foundation walls, garages, waterproofing membranes, structural deficiencies, energy and building code violations, etc.

In addition to construction defect cases, we represent community associations in many other matters: product defect and product liability claims for defective building components (windows, plumbing, heating, mechanical, etc.), claims involving embezzlement of funds by association directors and officers, actions to re-establish control of associations taken over by “runaway” boards, actions to abate nuisances (noise, prostitution, drug manufacturing, etc.), covenant enforcement (e.g., Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term rental activities), issues involving resort communities, golf clubs, clubhouses and other common amenities, claims involving defunct or bankrupt developers and failure to complete promised improvements, claims for adverse possession, easement disputes, parking spaces, and environmental contamination, among others.

The following are representative of our engagements in this field:

Representative Engagements

  • Trilogy at Redmond Ridge (Redmond, WA) (1500 single family homes): General counsel to the Residential Community Association since 2006
  • Tidewater Cove Condominiums (Vancouver, WA) (101 homes): Represented the association in all phases of transition from developer control, including successful lawsuits by the association against the developer for recovery of parking spaces improperly retained by the developer, to impose responsibility on the developer (and avoid association responsibility) for cleanup and continued monitoring of environmental contamination of soil and groundwater, and prosecuted and successfully resolved construction defect claims against developer and 25 subcontractors; total settlement value over $11 million; also have served as General Counsel to association since 2006
  • Sunrise Master Association (Puyallup, WA): General counsel to large master association
  • Tehaleh Owners Association (Pierce County, WA): General counsel to large master association
  • Hunters Ridge Condominiums (Sherwood, OR) (70 units): Successfully prosecuted claims for construction defects involving different contractors on each building, achieved fully funded multiple-party settlement.  Separately won coverage action against insurance company for sider in Oregon Court of Appeals (285 Or App 416).
  • Grand Ridge HOA (Camas, WA): Defeated suit by 3 homeowners claiming that HOA had obligation to cut common area trees to preserve views from their homes; obtained declaratory judgment in favor of HOA and recovered all attorney fees.
  • Harvard & Highland Condominium (Seattle, WA): General counsel to association, handled amendment and restatement of governing documents
  • Bellora Condominium (Seattle, WA): Defeated individual unit owner’s claim of adverse possession of common element deck and won full recovery of association’s attorney fees.
  • Cedarwood Condominium (Kirkland, WA): Represented condo association in boundary dispute involving encroachment by homes outside condominium; settled.
  • Pinnacle Condominiums (Portland, OR): Litigation counsel in construction defect action; successful settlement.
  • Encore Condominiums (Portland, OR): Resolved construction defect claims without lawsuit; General counsel to association
  • Irving Street Towers (Portland, OR) (57 units): General counsel to conversion condominium association in an historic building
  • Serenity at Juanita (Juanita, WA) (16 buildings, 100 units): Prosecuted large claim for construction defects in conversion condominium and follow-on insurance coverage claim against declarant’s insurer; all claims settled favorably to association; Litigation counsel in action to abate moral nuisance being carried on in a unit; General counsel to association
  • Gregory Condominium (Edmonds, WA) (31 units): Prosecuted construction defect claims on mixed use building
  • Pontedera Condominium (Seattle, WA): Litigation counsel in construction defect action; successful settlement.
  • Beacon Owners Association (Seattle, WA) (16 units): General counsel to older conversion condominium
  • Eastlake Lofts (Seattle, WA) (18 units): Successfully prosecuted claims for defective windows and window installation, concrete weatherproofing defects, and other deficiencies; continued work as General counsel to the association
  • Madison Lofts (Seattle, WA) (24 units): General counsel throughout transition from developer control; resolved construction issues without litigation
  • Sequoia Crossing HOA (Oregon City, OR) (78 homes): General counsel and advice post-turnover
  • Fountaincourt v. Legend Homes (Beaverton, OR) (11 buildings, 97 units): Successfully prosecuted claims against developer, general contractor and subcontractors for construction defects; prevailed on separate claims against insurer for primary subcontractor in both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Oregon (360 Or 341).
  • Windwatch Condominium (Seattle, WA) (25 units): Favorably resolved dispute and procured settlement on behalf of HOA against unit owner for exceeding scope of Board-authorized modifications to unit.
  • Mosier Creek Condominiums (Mosier, OR): Represented unit owners pre-turnover in cooperative resolution with developer and contractors over construction defects
  • Heights at Issaquah Ridge Condominiums (Issaquah, WA) (74 homes): Prosecuted construction defect claims; won court-approved $8.3 million settlement and obtained funding from insurers for developer, general contractor and subcontractors
  • Heritage Place Condominiums (Vancouver, WA) (137 units): Prosecuted claims for defective roofs and windows; obtained favorable pretrial settlement
  • Spruce Heights (49 units): Represented conversion condominium association in construction defect case against developer and siding subcontractor
  • Rainier Vista (Seattle, WA): Prosecuted and settled claims for defective in-floor heating
  • Courtyard at Progress Ridge Condominiums (Beaverton, OR) (144 homes): Successfully resolved construction defect claims of owners association under cooperative repair agreement with developer/builder
  • Riverfront Landing B&C Condominiums (Bothell, WA) (41 units): Arbitration against 4 subcontractors; won award in excess of $2 million plus attorney fees; successfully prosecuted follow-on insurance coverage action against carrier that refused to pay judgment entered against insured subcontractor, collected in full
  • Seward Park Townhomes (Seattle, WA) (41 units): Construction defect suit; obtained early settlement under a “wasting” wrap policy
  • Sundance at Klahanie Condominiums (158 units): $8.6 million total settlement in 3 separate lawsuits, including suit against insurer for refusal to provide coverage
  • Heatherwood at Lakeland Condominiums (92 homes): Represented condominium association in construction defect claims against developer and subsequent action against AIG for failure to provide insurance coverage; won $8.1 million settlement found reasonable by court
  • Overlook at Juanita Bay Condominiums (33 units): Prosecuted construction defect claims and claims for insurance bad faith; won $5.9 million in settlements
  • Fujisada Condominiums (25 residential units): $4.7 million settlement (2 suits: one in court against developer and the other in arbitration against general contractor)
  • Sjonadal Condominiums (8 units): $800,000 settlement recovery in case with no insurance coverage
  • Montere Condominiums (61 units): $4.67 million settlement following litigation with 22 parties
  • Sierra at Klahanie Condominiums (98 units): Construction defect suit; $9.0 million settlement
  • Westgate Condominiums (40 units): $1.5 million settlement plus full reimbursement of association’s attorney fees, without litigation
  • Belgrove at Renton HOA (65 homes): Sued to compel turnover of association documents; obtained complete relief including attorney fees and costs