Get paid without being “the bad guy”
From maintaining your community’s landscaped areas to ensuring that its gym, pool, and other recreation areas meet residents’ expectations, your homeowners association has to keep track of a lot of moving parts. On top of all of this, you no doubt have to deal with delinquent homeowners who can’t be bothered to pay their association fees on time. Fortunately, you can take some steps to minimize the impact of these less-than-responsible members.
Multiple studies have supported the idea of acting quickly to recoup delinquent HOA fees. After sending a formal letter that demands payment of back dues, some of the healthiest homeowners associations in the country wait just two months to take action against delinquent members. Such “hardball” tactics can dramatically increase compliance among homeowners who aren’t affected by major financial hardships, such as job loss or a recent death in the family.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use Your Leverage
As keepers of their communities’ common areas, HOAs have tremendous leverage over delinquent homeowners. Don’t be afraid to use yours selectively. By denying delinquent members access to your community’s pool, golf course, tennis courts, or gym, you’ll send a powerful message that you aren’t willing to let their obligations slide.
Offer Payment Assistance
If using your leverage as an HOA is the “stick” that can help you recover past-due payments, offering a payment assistance plan to struggling homeowners may be your “carrot.” For members who have been affected by job loss, downsizing, or other financial hardships, a payment plan that spreads HOA costs out over an entire year—instead of requesting payment in full by a specific date—may be useful.
Use Liens and Garnishments as a Last Resort
If softer tactics don’t work, there’s no shame in bringing legal action against delinquent homeowners. Since HOAs are spelled out in homeowners’ mortgage contracts, it’s perfectly legal to place liens on affected homes or initiate foreclosure proceedings against particularly egregious offenders. Before going this route, you’ll want to consult with an attorney.
Looking to Collect Back HOA Fees? Talk to an Experienced Indianapolis, IN, Attorney
Like any other service provider, you have significant legal rights as an HOA administrator. If you can employ the tips that we’ve outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to reducing your members’ payment backlog and shoring up the financial health of your organization. If you feel like you need more help, however, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an experienced attorney who understands the concerns of HOAs across Indiana. Call (317) 842-8283 or fill out our contact form to learn more.