Are you a board member of a community association or property manager of a community association? Have you noticed that there’s a difficulty in collecting outstanding dues from unit owners? If any of these items are true or properly describe your community association, there are a multitude of things that you and the association can do to enforce the rights of the association.

For instance, a letter advising the unit owner that they’re a) delinquent in their payments of association dues and b) if they remain delinquent the matter will be referred to counsel is a good first step in collecting the “low hanging fruit” the unit owners that mean to pay but simply forgot to pay or are having some financial difficulty but want to do enter into a payment arrangement before a lawsuit.

In conjunction with this letter, the application of late fees to each month the unit owner is delinquent in their monthly payments is also appropriate if allowed by your association’s governing documents and may encourage a unit owner to begin paying the outstanding association dues in order to avoid a late fee.

Keep in mind that many governing documents require: 1) that the unit owner pay their association dues on time and 2) Allow the association to apply late fees to delinquent unit owner accounts, rescind right of unit owners, which include but is not limited to, preventing these unit owners from voting at elections, running for board positions, the towing of the unit owners vehicle, prevention of unit owners from using common elements and various other avenues that can be handled prior to any collection effort.

If the unit owner is still non responsive after each of these aspects of the matter are attempted, then the appropriate action is to refer the matter to a law firm. The law firm can then, pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Act, send a letter to the unit owner advising them of the delinquency and telling them that if they fail to respond in a certain period of time they will be subject to penalties such as liens being placed on their property and lawsuits being filed against them for the collection of the amounts owed and due at the time. Additionally, many governing documents also require the unit owner in collection to pay legal fees incurred by placing the matter into collections.

If you’re curious about how this process works or require the assistance of an attorney to help in these matters, our firm handles these matters in a unique manner that limit the legal fees to the association and keeps the legal expenses of the association at a minimum in proceeding with these collections. Please contact our office at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters at length.