​A Popular HOA Document?

I just helped a lovely family from out of state buy a fantastic waterfront property near Battle Point. Having never had a well or septic system, they were very curious how these systems work. What’s more, the well is shared between nine separate properties. So not only were they to learn about how water comes out of the aquifer under their yard (all the well equipment is housed on their lot) but they were learning how to do so in cooperation with eight other property owners.

As I do with every transaction, I called the Title Officer who examined the Title Report to inquire about any concerns I should have or the status of any clouds on title. (A cloud is “any document, claim, unreleased lien or encumbrance that might invalidate or impair the title to real property or make the title doubtful.” -Investopedia)

My focus of this conversation was to get a quick overview of the 20-page document recently recorded with Kitsap County known as the Piper Water System, which is in the beginning stages of replacement of all its above ground equipment. It was drafted by local real estate attorney of local fame status, Bruce Weiland. And lucky for my clients, the special assessment (cost) for this project is paid by the seller even though she will receive no benefit from it.

Title Officer Mike Mjelde of Pacific Northwest Title in Silverdale has utter joy in his voice upon getting on the phone to talk. For this report, he was ecstatic to share how he thought this was “the best HOA doc [he had] ever seen.” This is quite a claim from a man who has been in the business for more than 40 years.

“What makes it so good?”, I asked.

“It’s thorough and decisive. There are no ‘what-ifs’ and it actually references older documents which is something I rarely see in this kind of situation”, said Mjelde. “And that they got all nine parties to agree on this many details and then get all their signatures is amazing. If someone were to ask for a superior example of this kind of instrument, this is what I would send.”

But, it didn’t have the answers to my buyer client’s questions- how is the electricity metered, annual maintenance invoiced and what color the new pump house shed would be painted. The shed does sit on her property, after all, and this newest member of the association wanted to know who was choosing the color.

“Ironically”, said Mjelde, “the document doesn’t answer any of those questions. Those are such simple things the neighbors just work that out across the fence”.

I find comfort in knowing that on Bainbridge Island we have the balance of thorough and decisive neighborhood order while still keeping the simple stuff simple. And luckily the neighbor did have the answers to my questions.

I would love to hear your HOA story- good or bad. Contact me at jason@mrshutt.com or 206.399.3641 to share.