If you are part of the board for the local homeowners association (HOA), your position likely comes with some stressful obligations. You have to advocate for the entire community and also enforce rules and regulations for those who own homes in your HOA.
Part of living in an HOA involves the payment of an assessment that helps cover all of the community features, from the gym and pool to the private roads and compliance with community rules. For those who fall out of compliance with HOA regulations, it is also sometimes necessary to assess fines or fees to coerce people into compliance.
What can you do if a homeowner simply refuses to pay their past-due assessment or fines that you have leveled against them for non-compliance?
The first step typically involves advising the individual of their non-payment
There are plenty of people who have good intentions to follow through with their obligation but fail to do so because life is just too busy. Sometimes, sending someone an official notice warning them of what will happen if they don’t pay and bring their account up to date can be all that it takes to get them to pay.
If they know that you will cut them off from community amenities, pursue collection activity against them or take out a lien against their property, that may motivate them to pay.
When someone won’t pay their fair share, they can’t use community amenities
The assessment and fees that your HOA collects help maintain the facilities enjoyed by everyone in the community. When one resident won’t pay their share, sometimes the simplest approach is to refuse them access to those features.
You could deactivate their key card so that they can’t get into the gym or pool. If the HOA provides or manages waste removal, water services or internet, turning those services off can quickly push someone to take action.
Pursue appropriate collection activity, including a lien if necessary
Getting help with pursuing collection activity against the non-paying homeowner is often important. There are many laws that govern debt collection practices, and you want to stay in compliance with the laws while being aggressive enough to motivate someone to pay.
If they continue to refuse to pay, you may need to seek a lien against the property, an act which will ensure that you receive payment in full when they attempt to sell or refinance the property in the future. Discussing the situation and your options with someone familiar with HOA and collection laws is often wise before you take action.