I Need Somebody (Not Just Anybody!) — By Michelle Ein, Esq. — O

ur community associations are volunteer-powered, but what legal protections exist for board or 

While every situation deserves its own assessment, in the context of that community’s governing documents and applicable law, this general guidance provides an overview to those who raise their hands to volunteer for their associations.

Know your statutory standard of care and meet it. Every community association statute in Washington requires  behalf (WUCIOA leaders must act in a manner they reasonably believe is in the association’s best interest – essentially the same thing). Inevitably, directors will face a decision or two along the way that tugs overwhelmingly at their personal ownership interests or appears to. When that happens, recusing yourself from decision making on that issue acknowledges that you may not be able to meet this standard, and helps you avoid liability.

Know your statutory standard of care and meet it.

Other than acting on the association’s behalf, volunteers do face a confusing hodgepodge of care standards, depending on the statute(s) your association falls under. Each generation and type of statute has its own phraseology. Leaders of condos created before July 1, 2018 must exercise “ordinary and reasonable care,” a low standard of care   

20 Community Associations Journal | December 2020

homeowner associations created before July 1, 2018 must act in good faith, in a manner they believe to be in the corporation’s best interest, and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, as an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances. HOA  the director believes to be reliable and competent in their subject; professionals and experts including engineers, CPAs, and attorneys; or a committee that has been designated to handle certain matters if the director believes   statutes.


 HOA Act, WUCIOA communities – all Common Interest Associations created since July 1, 2018, and any association   weaving the “business judgment rule” directly into the fabric of all community association law going forward. WUCIOA leaders must act in good faith, with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would do under similar circumstances; and in a manner (s)he reasonably believe(s) is in the association’s best interests. In executing  employees, and professionals, and committees that are   liable for any action taken or not taken in that role if they

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32