Condo liability reform, SB 5334, was signed into law by Governor Inslee on April 30. This legislation will help correct overreaching condo warranty liability that has been a problem since the 1990s and will allow for new condo construction. SB 5334 significantly and meticulously clarifies liability as past criteria meant that essentially anything that could be defective in a condo unit may give rise to a damage claim. Insurance costs on all projects were subsequently driven up and only high-end projects can afford to assume the cost or take the risk.
For MBA Pierce, condo liability reform was a top legislative priority for 2019. MBA Pierce joined other home building associations around Washington in sharing a condo liability reform resolution with local municipalities. The resolution called on jurisdictions to vocalize support for legislators in Olympia to enact reform in the upcoming legislative session. Several MBA Pierce members also participated in BIAW's Hill Day earlier this year and met with legislators in Olympia to discuss our association's legislative priorities.
Though this is not a panacea, condo liability reform produces another path for affordable home homeownership through increasing housing stock for homebuyers of all incomes.