In Washington, there are multiple ways in which individuals can agree to co-own real property. The most common form of ownership between unmarried parties is as tenants in common. Tenants in common have great flexibility in how they can divide ownership interests. For example, two owners can own a property evenly, or they can choose to split their ownership interests in another manner, such as by giving one owner a 75% interest and the other owner a 25% interest. Additionally, tenants in common can pass on ownership through their wills. Most owners agree to...Read More
Property boundary lines are often not as simple as square boxes aligned neatly next to one another. An easement is a prime example of the complexities associated with boundary lines. Easements are a right to use (not own outright) or restrict the use of someone else’s land, and issues regarding easements tend to get tricky.
For example, Bob owned a piece of land with an easement through the property. The easement was used for a long driveway leading to neighboring parcels, and the owners of those neighboring parcels were permitted to access the road for ingress...Read More
As a creditor, it can be immensely frustrating when a debtor files for bankruptcy protection. Even after filing your “proof of claim” evidencing the debt owing to you, in most cases, that debt will be forever discharged – e.g., wiped out – and you’ll receive little to no payment. From a layman’s perspective, it may feel “fraudulent” that the debtor avoided your debt especially in cases where the debtor promised over and over that he or she would pay you. Those promises – whether orally or by contract – typically do not warrant additional legal action in bankruptcy. In certain...Read More
A lis pendens is a notice of a lawsuit involving title to a piece of real estate. It is recorded in the real estate records of the county where the real estate is located and it puts the public on notice of the lawsuit. It can result in potential buyers of the property and potential lenders to the property’s owner not wanting to deal with the property owner because of the risk that the property owner’s title to the property is not what they thought it was. In addition, anyone who receives a conveyance of the...Read More
In July of 2017, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law legislation guaranteeing paid family leave to employees across Washington State. The groundbreaking move places Washington in a small group of states who have passed such legislation. While prior law generally mandated only unpaid leave and left many employees ineligible due to the size of their employers, the new law will cover nearly all employees in Washington who have worked at least 820 hours in employment during the qualifying period. The law will offer the most generous paid leave plan in the country with a minimum of...Read More
An easement is a right to use (not own) someone else’s land. The party who enjoys the “use” is referred to as the “benefitted party” or “grantee”, while the party who owns the land is referred to as the “burdened party” or “grantor”. Commonly, the right and burden of “use” stays with the land for the benefit and burden of subsequent owners. The nature of the “use” can vary widely depending on the circumstances. Easements can be created in a number of ways including by express (written) grant, implied from parties’ conduct, and by prescription. Similarly,...Read More
When parties form a contract, they usually write the contract with terms conforming to their intentions and expectations. Unfortunately, sometimes one or both parties err in accurately expressing these intentions and expectations within the terms of a contract. To make matters worse, one party often reaps the benefit of that mistake and will defend the contract vigorously to take advantage of the benefit. In such disputes, the legal doctrines of unilateral mistake and mutual mistake often arise in the context of litigation between the parties.
When a party unilaterally makes a mistake, the party generally is...Read More
Most closely held business owners are not familiar with the process associated with buying or selling a business. The process is comprised of four general steps: conversation, letter of intent, definitive documentation and closing.
The first step in the process is the initial conversation between the buyer and the seller. A simple conversation can spark interest and help both sides become aware of the potential for a deal. Both sides are then responsible for acquiring the information necessary to understanding the business...Read More
The newly-passed Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) will take effect on July 1 of this year. The WUCIOA is comprehensive and regulates the formation, management and termination of common interest communities (CICs). Covered communities include condominiums, plat communities, and cooperatives.
The WUCIOA will apply to all CICs created after July 1, 2018 and allow for current communities to adopt its provisions. There is one important exception. Section 326 will control the budget process and subsequent ratification and will apply to all CICs regardless of the date of creation. This section will require...Read More
It may be your very own neighbor. While many of us want to co-exist peacefully with our neighbors, you cannot always choose your neighbors, and they may have other goals in mind. Conflicts between neighbors can arise in a variety of contexts, from tree cutting disputes to boundary disputes. However, one of the most unsettling conflicts occurs when a neighbor trespasses onto your land and causes damage to your personal property.
Perhaps a neighbor damages your fence or knocks down your retaining wall. Whatever the case, having a neighbor enter onto your land without your permission...Read More