• Zoning, Nuisance, and Barking Dogs

    One barking dog is private nuisance, many is a public one.  Under either circumstance, counties and cities have remedies for these problems.  Complaints are made to the Code Enforcement of the local government, and to Animal Control.  If there are questions on licensing of animals, the auditor of each county may be source to challenge eligibility.  Nearly all local governments have Internet forms for lodging formal complaints. The denser the zoning in a locality the less chance a citizen has in abating the nuisance.  In turn, less-dense areas (suburban residential, single-family residential, or moderate family residential), are where barking nuisances are most noticeable and governed.   Through the Growth Management Act of 1991, local government

  • Judicial Foreclosure and Nonjudicial Foreclosure: the Differences

    By Thomas L. Dickson, Esq. Used together, a promissory note and a deed of trust embody the most common type of mortgage. The deed of trust is recorded on the borrower’s title securing the note and prioritizing the loan’s position on title. There are only two ways to foreclose on this mortgage: judicially and nonjudicially. Judicial Foreclosure and Redemption A judicial foreclosure is processed through the courts by filing a complaint for a judgment on the note which accelerates the unpaid balance, and orders the sheriff to sell the property at auction. Because the lender obtains a judgment, the remedies can be any type of collection, foreclosure being one of them. When the sale occurs, interest from default until the date of the auction, costs,

  • Deciphering the “Lis Pendens”

    By Thomas L. Dickson, Esq. Seattle real estate attorneys, real estate brokers, and escrow companies deal with the "lis pendens" from time to time, and many people are not sure what it means. The Latin definition is simply: notice of a pending lawsuit. The Revised Code of Washington defines "lis pendens" as an "instrument having the effect of clouding the title to real property, however, named, including consensual commercial lien, common-law lien, commercial contractual lien, or demand for performance of a public office lien." RCW 4.28.328 (1)(a). Is recording a lis pendens, thus, a violation of the owner’s procedural due process, i.e., the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard? Not according to Cranwell v. Mesec, 77 Wn. App. 90, 8

  • Real Property and “Grandfather Rights” aka Nonconforming Use

    By Thomas L. Dickson, Esq. We often hear the expression, “grandfather rights,” when someone’s property is not affected by a land use change while nearly everyone else’s is. In legal parlance, land use attorneys know the term is “Nonconforming Use,” defined as a use “existing lawfully before the rezone of the surrounding area and continues or is ‘grandfathered’ after the rezone, provided the use is not thereafter interrupted for longer than a prescribed period, generally a year.” Land Use and Environmental Law, Ch. 24, Part Two, Washington Lawyer’s Practice Manual. Nonconforming use is not limited solely to zoning issues, but to changes in a large spectrum of administrative regulations. “The right to continue a noncon