Building a Successful HOA in Washington

Jul 27, 2023 | Business, Homeowner's Associations, News

Starting a homeowners’ association (“HOA”) in Washington, or have a question about your existing HOA?

Whether you are starting a new HOA or have questions about your existing HOA, here are a few critical things to remember about Washington RCW 64.38.

Understanding the powers of a Washington HOA. 

Washington grants many powers to HOAs under RCW 64.38¹, including but not limited to: 

  • Power to adopt and amend bylaws, rules, regulations, budgets, and collect assessments from owners. 
  • Power to hire or contract with agents, employees, or independent contractors.
  • Institute, defend, or intervene in litigation or administrative proceedings. 
  • Enter into contracts and incur liabilities.
  • Regulate the use, maintenance, repair, replacement, modification, and lease/license of common areas.
  • Own and sell real or personal property. 
  • Impose and collect fees or charges for the use or operation of common areas or for late payments of assessments.


What other powers may Washington HOAs exercise? 

The association bylaws are crucial in setting forth the powers an HOA may exercise. An HOA’s bylaws provide for the size of its board of directors, their qualifications, powers and duties, term of office, and the process for electing and removing the board of directors and officers, and filling vacancies.² Regardless, the board of directors cannot act on behalf of the association to amend the articles of incorporation or take any action that requires the vote or approval of its members.³

While HOAs are granted broad discretion in writing their bylaws, Washington law forbids HOAs from prohibiting the display of certain flags and political signs, the use of solar panels, installation of drought resistant landscaping, electric vehicle charging stations, and more.

For more information on Washington laws affecting HOAs, see our blog post related to House Bill 1110 here.

If you need assistance understanding how your HOA may be affected by this law, contact our office.

This blog post is designed to provide general information on pertinent legal topics. The statements made are provided for educational purposes only. This blog does not provide legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Smith + Malek, PLLC. If you want to create an attorney-client relationship and have specific questions regarding the application of the law to your own circumstances, you should contact our office.


¹ See RCW 64.38.020

² See RCW 64.38.030

³ See RCW 64.38.025