You may have detected a hint of sarcasm with our choice of the Words to Live By above. In the case of Washington’s Condo Act, the threat of spending more time in the courtroom than the boardroom has pushed practically all developers to go apartment. Now, we sit with an apartment vacancy rate of 18% in some areas (10.5% regional average) and rents continuing to fall due to oversupply (and, yes, market adjustment), yet, the demand for more affordable housing options is sky high.
Here’s a possible light at the end of the tunnel for both the condo industry and hopeful condo buyers. Last week, a new bill was finally introduced to the state senate, SB 5334. As Dan Bertolet at Sightline Institute describes it, “The proposed bill would tighten what qualifies as a warrantable defect, and it would more explicitly shield condo association board members from personal liability so they would be less inclined to file lawsuits just to protect themselves.”
I won’t go into all the details of the situation (Mr. Bertolet already does a great job of that), but overall, it seems like a much-needed revision to get us back on track. I’m hopeful.
For now, I’ll just leave you with this chart from the article. Those gray bars represent lost opportunity.