Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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Act fast to collect overdue HOA fees

When a few homeowners aren’t paying their community association fees, everyone suffers the consequences. Collecting overdue fees is a dreaded task. But for the sake of the neighborhood, it is important to stay persistent.

Why timely payments are important

Community association fees fund the upkeep of the neighborhood. A healthy budget helps maintain the homes, landscape, pools and other amenities. In short, community association fees do exactly what’s in the title: enhance the community.

When homeowners don’t pay their fees, it’s an unfortunate reality for all the other neighbors. Fees go up, the neighborhood faces special assessments, and cuts are made in the budget. Additionally, it can hurt property values.

Dont settle for late payments

Unpaid HOA fees is a major problem for planned development associations nationwide. As a homeowners’ association representative, you want to set the community up for success, which is why forcing payments from neighbors is unenjoyable.

That aside, immediate action is necessary to collect past-due fees. If warnings are distributed with no response, you might have to take other measures. There are a few routes the board could take, which includes:

  1. Suspend amenity privileges. Amenities are important to homeowners. They want to use the gym, tennis court, pool or any other facilities the development offers. If they don’t pay their fair share, it’s time to take away their right to use any of the above.
  2. Offer a payment plan. Some homeowners are in financial distress. While you need to put your foot down, it may be helpful to work out a six-month or 12-month payment plan. This is more manageable for people who are cash-strapped.
  3. Place a lien on the homeIf other routes fail, you might have to resort to a placing a lien on their house. A lien is a court document that essentially puts the house on hold. The homeowner cannot sell the home unless the HOA is paid or they refinance their mortgage.

Collecting overdue fees can be uncomfortable and stressful. Late and non-payments impact everyone in the community. That’s why acting on the problem in a timely matter is essential to the quality of living for all neighbors. If an association board is facing limited budgets due to unwilling tenants or homeowners, it might be wise to speak with an attorney about the next course of action.

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