COVID-19 has presented many difficulties for people and businesses across the world. When thinking about collecting community assessments it is undoubtedly essential. Communities still must collect these assessments because the failure to do so may damage the associations ability to provide services to homeowners. However, because of the hardships that this virus has caused it’s important to become understanding of those individuals in your community who might be unemployed, or slow with work.
Laurie Poole, an attorney with Adams Stirling in California said;
“At this time, we would recommend (associations) waive late fees and interest but not dial back on collecting assessments,” says Poole. Boards can still file liens, but she notes that they should hold off on foreclosures and postpone special assessments.”
Many communities have transitioned to collecting assessments online. This is the most safe and secure way to collect these assessments. It’s suggested that even when business transitions back to normal, that you continue collecting assessments online. Not only will this assist with the prevention of viruses in the future, but the practices of your management offices will be enhanced.
Transparency and continued communication are going to be essential when speaking with homeowners in the future. Management should take a look at these principles established by CAI, regarding homeowners who face challenges paying their assessments;
1. If an owner is unable to pay assessments on time, the owner should notify their community association to work out a payment plan. Homeowners with a financial hardship should be encouraged to apply for government assistance, if available.
2. Community associations should adopt a moratorium on foreclosures for a period of 60 days (or until at least June 1, 2020).
3. Community associations should waive late fees and penalties for owners who face temporary financial hardships due toCOVID-19.
4. Community associations should amend, temporarily relax, or follow existing non-foreclosure collection policies that are fair and applied equally to all members of the community association.
5. Community associations should continue to record liens to protect their interests.
6. Community associations should emphasize the importance of owners paying their assessments on time, if possible.
Again, management companies should continue to be patient and understanding. Remind management that interactions should be positive. Everyone needs some light during this difficult time. If you'd like to talk about online payments in your community click here!