Are your community association’s collections in compliance with changing regulations?
Community association collections laws are changing. For many years, condominium associations and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) had a lot of freedom when it came to handling unpaid assessments. Community associations were able to pursue home and unit owners who fell behind in a variety of ways, because few state regulations interfered with the association’s right to collect overdue assessments. They were largely free to levy late fees, interest, collection costs, and legal fees against the delinquent home or condo owner. Condominium and HOA management firms, when acting as agents for their association clients, were similarly able to offer a collections process as part of their routine service offerings for their clients. This could include issuing warning letters, demand letters, and other collection notices, or even recording liens.
To say those days are over is an understatement. Although there are no federal regulations in place, many states now have condominium or HOA association collections laws that are designed to protect delinquent home and condo owners. While this type of consumer protection is really important, it’s created an unintentional side effect: community associations are more regulated and challenged than ever before when it comes to collecting the fees and assessments that are the lifeblood of their association.
Community Association Collections Laws Vary by State
Make no mistake, these state laws must be obeyed and the consequences for violating them can be severe. Some states, like Florida, now require additional notices to be sent for certain types of collection activities, delaying the whole process. Other states, such as Texas, have such rigid requirements that many association management companies would rather pay a small fortune for an attorney than seek out cost-effective collections options, believing this is their best option to avoid risk.
Then you have states like Maryland where community association management firms are actually expected to acquire and maintain collection agency licenses in order to send out bills on behalf of their association clients. This is a huge burden being to place on management companies and creates yet another layer of risk. Maintaining a collection agency license requires extensive knowledge and practice of the current community association collection laws regarding the collection of delinquent fees from HOA and condominium unit owners–management companies should not be expected to shoulder that responsibility.
Choose an Industry-Specific Collections Partner
Axela Technologies is licensed and insured in every state that we service. Maintaining that knowledge of association collections law is a sacred duty that we take to heart so we can best serve the industry. We even offer indemnification to the associations and association management firms that retain our services to collect from their delinquent homeowners. This concept is so important, it merits serious consideration for any association management firm that wants to focus on delivering service excellence to its association clients without risking being sued for violating a state collection law.
Keeping up with the law changes in your state can be tedious and difficult. Let a specialized HOA and condo association collections agency handle that worry for you. Talk to one of our condominium and HOA delinquency collection experts to learn how best to collect those overdue fees and assessments while keeping your association management business and your association clients safe from the risk of handling collections without a license.
Get your free collections analysis today and start working with one of our many HOA and condominium association collections experts. Axela Technologies handles all collections on a merit-based system. We’ll help you make sure you aren’t putting your association at risk by violating federal or state consumer protection laws for your condominium or HOA.