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Bills Bills and More Bills…

You’ve been elected to your community’s board of directors and the first order of business is ensuring everyone pays their fair share of association dues. The journey you now embark was born from a desire to make your community better for not only you and your family, but also your neighbors. This volunteer position can be satisfying but also frustrating when you become a bill collector.


On the first day on the job as a Board volunteer you will likely come across the dirty little secrets of community association living such as the collection of association dues. While delinquent assessments or past due association dues are a problem at any time, they are a particular problem now, with the economy still recovering from the crash of 2008. Many community associations are struggling to provide the basic services to its owners due to the amount of delinquent assessments.


As a board member, it is your responsibility to try and fix this problem. It is likely your manager has made efforts to collect the owed dues. If any association dues are stilled owed after efforts by your manager, it is time to call your Association’s lawyer.


Under the law, any neighbor that owes your neighborhood association dues will first receive all sorts of formal notices before any liens can be placed.  Sometimes a manager may handle these steps but other times it is provided to the association lawyer to handle at some point in the process. If the person that owes the money continues to refuse or ignore the notices, a lawsuit should be quickly filed to protect the community. After the filing of a lawsuit, a few different things can happen.


If the owner does not respond the association automatically wins and receives its association dues plus interest and attorneys fees. If the owner does respond then the matter goes to mediation where both parties try and resolve the dispute. If the case does not resolve at mediation, which it usually does, then the lawyer brings it in front of a judge. There is rarely a justifiable excuse to not pay the same association dues that everyone else has to pay. The judge then orders the owner to pay.


Most cases do not proceed to trial, or even necessarily to a foreclosure sale. It is best for everyone, including the owner, to attempt to resolve the matter so that the association can begin receiving the dues it needs to properly maintain the community.


For further specifics on the collection of association dues, the board should contact their community attorney.

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