As an HOA delinquency collections professional, I frequently handle collection issues involving home and unit owners who have fallen behind in the timely payment of their association. So I know all too well the very real emotional cost paid by both debtor and collector. Timely payment and collection of common fees and assessments is as basic a business transaction as there is. However, because real human beings are involved, the transaction is often wrought with human emotion. Many times, those emotions range from tragic to hostile. Using a specialized debt collection agency for your condo or HOA delinquency problems isn’t just practical, it could be a lifesaver!
Pay Close Attention to the Person Behind the Debt Curtain
Unfortunately, regardless of how a condominium or HOA is managed—professionally or by the association itself—HOA delinquency cannot go unchallenged. If common fees and assessments aren’t collected in a timely fashion, the association suffers. Monies that were budgeted for association expenses aren’t available and, in some extreme cases, the good-paying owners in the community could be forced to cover the delinquencies through increased dues or assessments. This is an unfair situation that can cause serious distress in your community.
That said, consider this: when a homeowner hasn’t paid their association dues for multiple months, there are typically underlying circumstances and turmoil. Money is tight for whatever reason and the homeowner has decided that the association can wait for their money. Studies have shown that people experiencing financial hardships are far more prone to physical and emotional illness. Approaching someone who is experiencing financial hardship is challenging and should be handled by someone trained in doing so, as the conversation will likely be unpleasant.
Preparing for a Difficult Conversation
Should a delinquent homeowner decide to call the association or management firm to discuss their delinquency and address how they will repay the association, it will almost certainly be a lengthy call. It typically starts pleasant enough but quickly devolves into a discussion of non-association business items and explanations (or excuses) of why the fees cannot be paid at this time. The debtor will often play to the empathy of the person receiving the call, expecting that their story will convince the call recipient of their goodness and their intent to pay eventually when things get better for them. But the association is a business, and no amount of empathy can erase the fact that the money they owe is very much needed to keep the community healthy and successful. Homeowners often fail to remember that they don’t just live in a house that they call home, they live in a collection of homes that rely on one another to thrive, and any dollars lost can cause real struggle.
Once they are reminded of that, the call tends to escalate into anger because the debtor isn’t getting the leniency they hoped for or want. If you have ever received a call like this, you know exactly what I am talking about. These calls often end with little to no positive outcome.
In fact, there is usually a negative outcome. The debtor is upset because the call didn’t go their way. They still owe the money and they are now convinced that the association doesn’t care about them. The call recipient is typically upset because they have spent a great deal of time hearing the sad tale of woe and then being subjected to the debtor’s anger when things didn’t go their way. I have heard tales of people listening to the debtor for 25 to 30 minutes and then needing just as long to recover from the sad and hurtful phone call before being able to get back on task. This is a great emotional expense, but it can also be a great financial expense for time lost to an unproductive activity.
Hand Off the Emotional Burden
Using a specialized and fully licensed condo and HOA delinquency collection service such as Axela Technologies makes perfect sense in this situation. The association or management firm simply places the delinquent home or condo owner into our collections system as needed. At no cost or risk to the association, Axela Technologies’ highly-trained debt collection professionals take that burden off the association or association management firm. Since working with delinquent owners is all we do, you can bet we are equipped to handle the emotional cost of delinquency to the owner as well as the association. Since our service is merit-based, there is no extra financial burden on the good-paying owners. We take a negative and turn it into a positive.
Get in touch with Axela Technologies and avoid the emotional cost of delinquency for your association and your association members. Axela Technologies handles all collections on a merit-based system. Visit our website at https://www.axela-tech.com today to get in touch with one of our collections experts.