The law of unintended consequences theorizes that the actions of people – especially government – often have effects that are surprising or unplanned. The idea of unintended consequences is generally traced back to English philosopher John Locke. In 1692, in a letter to Sir John Sommers, a member of England’s Parliament, Locke counseled the defeat of a parliamentary bill designed to regulate interest rates. Locke argued that instead of benefiting borrowers, as the bill intended, it would hurt them because creditors would find ways to circumvent the law, and those related costs would be borne by the borrowers, namely “widows, orphans and all those who have their estates in money.” John Locke, Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money (1691). Oregon House Bill 2661 (“HB 2661”) should be considered with unintended consequences in mind.

HB 2661’s goal is to curtail or reduce the spiraling costs of new residential construction in order to make housing more affordable. While that is an admirable and laudable goal, the key features of this bill remind me of Locke’s letter to Sommers and his concerns about that century’s old bill to regulate interest rates.

HB 2661’s key features include:


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Can three days make a difference when filing a construction defect lawsuit? Absolutely! In Cypress Fairway Condominium v. Bergeron Construction Co. Inc., three days was the difference between the claim being time barred and timely filed.

Under Section 95.11(3)(c), Florida Statutes, an action founded on the design, planning, construction, or an improvement to real property must be commenced within ten years after the latest of four specific events: actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract.
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Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals published an opinion two days ago interpreting, for the first time, RCW 64.34.264(2), the one-year statute of limitations for challenges to the validity of an amendment to a condominium’s declaration. In Club Envy of Spokane, LLC, et al v. The Ridpath Tower Condo. Assoc. et al., No.31913-0-III, the Court held the one-year limitations period does not apply when the amendment is “void from its inception.” In other words, when the amendment was improperly passed under the Condominium Act, the one-year limitations period to challenge the amendment’s validity does not apply.

The Unique Facts of Club Envy

The facts in Club Envy are rather unique. In February 2008, the Ridpath Tower Condominium was created and the Association formed.
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It is an all too familiar scenario: A condominium association (“COA”) sues a manufacturer of allegedly defective products used in the construction of the condominium. The COA alleges, among other claims, an Unlawful Trade Practices Act (“UTPA”) claim. The manufacturer–defendant seeks to dismiss the UTPA claim, arguing the UTPA, as a consumer protection statute, does not apply because neither the COA nor its members are “consumers” of the defective product, which was manufactured by the defendant, distributed by a third–party, and installed by a contractor. According to the manufacturer–defendant, this is a commercial transaction outside the UTPA. The COA argues its members are “consumers” because they purchased their units containing the defective product. Whether the UTPA requires plaintiffs to have some transactional relationship with the defendant to qualify as a “consumer” is currently unsettled in Oregon.
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Rowhomes and townhomes are a popular form of multi-family dwelling, but not all attached homes are organized the same way, and they don’t all have the same maintenance obligations between the homeowners’ association (if there is one) and the individual owners. Knowing how a townhome community is organized can help you decide if purchasing is right for you.  If you already own a townhome, it is important to understand the maintenance responsibilities of the homeowners’ association and yourself, should any issues arise.

Rowhomes and townhomes in Oregon may be organized as Condominiums, under the Oregon Condominium Act (ORS Chapter 100) or as Planned Communities, under the Planned Community Act (parts of ORS Chapter 94).  To add a wrinkle to all of this, people often refer to Planned Communities as “Townhomes,” but a community may look like townhomes and be organized as Condominiums and a community of detached homes could be organized as a planned community.
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If you manage property – apartments, condominiums, or commercial properties – you know the importance of maintenance plans and budgets. It is critical to establish these priorities with the property owner. But what happens when the planned maintenance and budget is not enough? When you have to schedule several repairs and heightened maintenance? Eventually, if the construction of the property is determined to be defective, the property owner may sue the original contractors and builders who constructed the property. In turn, these contractors or builders may sue you, the property manager, and argue that sustained ineffective maintenance or incomplete repairs contributed to the damage at the property.  Do not let this happen to you. What should you do?
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Will Oregon join the cadre of states that hold a member of an LLC personally liable for his or her own conduct in furtherance of a LLC’s business? That question is currently pending before the Oregon Supreme Court in Cortez v. Nacco Materials Handling Group, Inc., et al, 248 Or App 435, 74 P3d 202, review allowed, 353 Or 103, 295 P3d 50 (2012).


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