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What is the legal status of unincorporated Beach Communities or Associations in Washington State?

Greenbank, WA |

A beach community of eight owners has annual meetings and typically votes for or against rules governing their own community and their jointly owned beach. Topics such as fireworks, fires, structures, dogs, and shellfish harvesting on their beach are discussed. Although the social pressure of a vote usually works, what is the legal standing of such a loose community to enforce those rules?

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Attorney answers 2


If the beach is commonly owned, there may be provisions in the deeds themselves, in subdivision documents or in common covenants that govern these decisions. You may be able to find these documents by searching public records on line.



All owners have their own copies of the covenants which do not change. Beach rules are specific but often change. I would guess there is no standing for such a group.


Start with the title of the property governed and you may find the developer set up a Homeowner's Association and that status will be a non profit corporation under RCW 64.38 and the rules will be set forth in the governing documents. The Association must use the courts to enforce the rules.

Good Luck

Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are provided for informational and/or novelty purposes



There was never a developer involved and it was never filed as a non-profit corporation. Covenants signed in 1959 deal with community beach ownership but only in that sense is it a legal group of owners. Unless there is other force of law, it is social pressure that governs behavior.

Shawn B Alexander

Shawn B Alexander


The covenants should have an enforcement provision, if not it is up to the owners to take it to court for any real enforcement action.

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