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Real Property & Development Review

Supreme Court Interprets Prelitigation Notice Rules in RCW 64.50

Posted in Construction

The first in this term’s Supreme Court roster of cases pertinent to the construction industry is out: the Lakemont Ridge case. By a 9-0 vote, the Supreme Court held that a homeowner need not file its 45 day pre-suit notice to cure in a situation where the “construction professional” has failed to file its own notice advising the homeowner of the existence of the homeowner’s pre-suit notice requirement. The takeaway quote:

The statute unambiguously establishes two distinct notice requirements. These provisions of chapter 64.50 RCW operate together to achieve the legislature’s dual goals of reducing potentially burdensome and expensive construction defect litigation and preserving rights and remedies for property owners. We construe the statute to give effect to both notice provisions. At the beginning of the parties’ relationship, the construction professional must notify the homeowner of the construction professional’s right to notice and the opportunity to cure any defects. RCW 64.50.050(1). If the construction professional fails to provide the notice required by this section, the Act ensures that the homeowner’s failure to give prelitigation notice “shall not preclude or bar any action.” RCW 64.50.050(3). However, if the construction professional
provides notice of the prelitigation notice requirement, the homeowner must give prelitigation notice of the alleged defects and follow the statutory procedures designed to avoid litigation. RCW 64.50.020(1). This interpretation gives effect to each notice provision of chapter 64.50 RCW.