A recent surge in development has led to several new multi-unit buildings appearing in downtown Vancouver and along the waterfront. While many of these buildings will become apartments, Vancouver residents have been expressing their desire to see some of them become condominiums. However, local developers remain hesitant to build condos, citing excessive lawsuit potential and fear about the overall housing market.

Current Laws Cultivate Lawsuit Culture

Washington state’s current law is over-broad in its definition of what constitutes a “defect,” builders claim. This vague term allows for people to sue more easily and frequently, for reasons ranging from poor acoustics to leaky roofs. Becoming embroiled in a lawsuit can severely hinder a company, and these suits often take years to resolve.

Barry Cain, president of Tualatin-based Gramor Development, told The Columbian, “The whole lawsuit thing became a little bit of an industry itself. The laws were passed to protect buyers of condo projects. What they did was make it much more difficult to build them.”

Legislators Seeking a Solution

Recently, lawmakers in Olympia have begun to focus more on condo-related issues. House Bill 2831, while failing to pass the House of Representatives, proposed more restrictions on when and how a homeowners association could file a lawsuit. The long-term goal of this bill was to remove some barriers and fears from potential builders, ultimately enticing more condominiums to be built at a broader range of price points.

Even though the bill did not pass, legislators are showing a greater interest in the topic of condominiums. As the focus on affordable housing gains momentum, condos will attract first-time homebuyers, older homeowners looking to downsize, and families who simply cannot afford to buy a traditional home.

Vancouver’s Changing Landscape

As real estate in Vancouver evolves, make sure your interests are protected. Contact John L. Davis PLLC today at (360) 597-4740 to discuss your real estate-related questions. We have helped countless clients in Vancouver and the surrounding areas sort out family, business, and real estate law issues, and we are happy to do the same for you.

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