Budget time is upon us, and boards are trying to figure out how to collect past-due assessments so they can meet the association’s budget. Here are a few tips to make sure that you can collect assessments:
1. Make sure you know who owns the property. When you send notices that assessments are due, or even late, you want to make sure you are sending the notice to the owner. If there has been a foreclosure, be sure to find out who currently owns the property. If you find out that there is a new owner after you’ve sent a notice, send another one to the right person.
2. Send the notices to the correct address. You can do this by always keeping association records current on mailing addresses for owners.
3. If you have a special assessment, make sure it is assessed properly. Follow your governing documents and the bylaws. Be sure that the vote on the special assessment is held at a properly noticed meeting.
4. Be sure to keep a proper accounting of assessments. It is important that the treasurer or manager is keeping an accounting of what assessments, interest, and fees are due and what assessments have been paid.
5. Make sure the interest rate is correct. If the association’s governing documents or resolution state the association may only charge a certain interest rate, make sure the association is charging that interest rate.
6. Make sure the late fees on assessments are proper. Under Oregon law, if the board passes a late fee at a properly noticed board meeting and notice is given to the owners of the late fee, the board may impose it on each delinquent assessment. Remember though, late fees must be reasonable.
7. Get a collections resolution passed and follow it. If there are delinquencies, the owners should know what procedures the association will follow to collect from them. It’s important to get a collections resolution and attorney in place before there are delinquencies, so if there is one, the board can act quickly to collect the past-due amounts.
8. Put communications in writing and mail them to the owners in conjunction with emailing or calling to let owners know about delinquencies.
9. Finally, be aware of what is happening at your association. Pay attention to work vehicles with logos and if a unit is occupied by a tenant. This information may help you collect against a delinquent owner in the future.