When community associations have homeowners who don't pay HOA fees, it can be difficult for community boards. Your board needs a plan to collect late dues while minimizing frustrations and tensions between neighbors.
If your association currently struggles with a pattern of late dues and unhappy residents and board members when attempting to collect, we're here to help! The best HOA management companies recommend the following best practices when homeowners don't pay fees on time.
Set Clear Expectations
Homeowners should know what is expected of them in order to live within the community association guidelines. One of the most critical responsibilities for homeowners is paying recurring association dues on time as long as they are part of the community.
Your board must set clear, documented expectations about HOA fee amounts and due dates. In addition, community board members should send clear information about what actions could occur if residents don't pay HOA fees on time. These communications may include warnings about a lien being put on a homeowner's property or other legal steps that may need to take place. It's important to communicate these consequences thoroughly and calmly so that misunderstandings don't happen between homeowners and community board members.
What Happens When HOA Management Fees Are Late?
If you've been part of your homeowners' association board for any length of time, you know that despite delivering clear expectations, there are always some homeowners who don't pay fees on time. So what are the next steps association boards should take to track down and collect late payments? Expert community management professionals recommend the following.
1. Send Late Notices
Your board must ensure they use effective communication tactics when sending late notices and communicating with the homeowner about their delinquency. Sending HOA fee notices through the mail, email, and phone are effective ways to get in touch. It's essential to keep documentation of what you send to whom when it comes to late fees so that community boards can prove they took necessary steps if homeowners don't respond or pay HOA dues.
2. Follow Up With Homeowners
If the homeowner doesn't make contact with community board members after receiving their late notice (or if community board members aren't able to communicate with them for some reason), scheduling a community meeting is another option your board may want to consider. At this community meeting, community boards should prepare answers about why HOA dues are necessary and how critical it is that residents pay them on time. While these community meetings can be tense, community boards must stay on message and keep the focus on how HOA fees are necessary for community maintenance and maintain the quality of the neighborhood that attracted homeowners there in the first place.
3. Consider Legal Action If Necessary
If homeowners continue to refuse to pay the HOA management fee or communicate with community board members about having trouble paying them, community associations may need to consider legal action to collect amounts owed by residents. Hiring professionals like one of the best community management companies can help condo associations avoid costlier measures like lawsuits while still ensuring homeowners' fees are paid each month.
Discussing this possibility at community meetings is another way community association boards can discourage non-paying residents from taking up more time and energy.
4. Set a Good Example
Have you paid your HOA dues? Your board shouldn't expect residents to pay their dues on time if the board isn't 100% accountable for on-time due payment every time. When community residents know that the board members consistently pay dues by each deadline, they're more likely to respond positively to the same deadlines.
On-Time Due Collection Helps Your Community Thrive
At the end of the day, collecting late fee payments should always be community board members' number one priority, especially if community residents are going to take community boards seriously. Good community managers can help set strong expectations with community board members that HOA fees must always be paid on time, and associations should consider taking legal action against those who don't comply.
Ultimately, when associations have full funding from HOA dues, they're better able to meet the community's needs and fulfill annual budget items, like paying vendors and keeping up with landscaping and maintenance with a property management company. Prioritize this process with help from professional community managers to reduce the volume of late dues and conflicts about ongoing management fees within your association.
Collect HOA Dues On Time With a Professional HOA Management Company
Well-managed collection efforts pay off, especially when they're done correctly from the start. Board members should set a good example for community residents by being accountable for HOA dues payments every month, so community residents see them as trustworthy. If delinquent homeowners refuse to pay late fees, it's important for homeowners association management boards to enforce consequences that have been set up in advance.
If you're struggling to keep up with collections or suffering from funding shortages due to late due payments, let Revolution Association Management help! Our certified HOA experts can support your board operations to collect assessments and handle delinquencies. Reach out to our team to learn more about our services!