Although the economy in most areas continues to improve, many community association Boards are still chasing delinquent assessments. Many associations operate on a shoestring budget, so letting assessments slide for even a year can jeopardize property values. It’s not always comfortable to enforce collections, especially when you’ve allowed them to lapse. You may find it easier to enforce assessments by thinking about them in a different way.
Imagine your neighbor asking you to pay his/her credit card payment and late fees. Just the thought is shocking. Yet, that’s what delinquent homeowners do. Neighbors must pick up the slack or watch their services and maintenance decline. When HOA Board members think about assessments in this light, most find it easier to enforce collection procedures.
A large portion of association assessments are used for day-to-day operating expenses, which is routine maintenance and services. When your association is small, just one or two delinquent homeowners reduce services for the entire community. Property values soon follow the downward trend, which can pit neighbor against neighbor. Establishing and enforcing a collection policy can help restore the community and neighbor relations.
Long-term repairs and replacements are part of running a successful community association. That’s why a percentage of assessments should go to the reserve fund. Without a reserve fund, you’re left to levy a special assessment. Delinquent homeowners can lead to deferred maintenance, and deferred maintenance looks more like a patchwork quilt than a plan. Successful communities have a plan and stay on plan.
At best, managing association finances is challenging. Thinking about assessments in a different light can help you put your personal feelings aside. If your Board needs help to get on track, a good property manager can help you develop and consistently implement strong collection procedures. If your Board refuses to stand tough on delinquents, the effects will appear throughout the community. It’s up to you to change the direction.
Wise Property Solutions is a property management company serving East Tennessee with offices in Knoxville, TN and the Tri-Cities, TN. Specializing in Condominium Association Management, Home Owners Association Management, HOA Management and Gated Community Association Management. The firm is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®).
Knoxville, TN: 865-643-8989
Tri-Cities, TN: 423-926-7373