Sunday, November 23, 2008

Community Association Collections for Dummies

Here is a shortened version of what I prepared for a client, FYI---

When we are asked to file a lien we send it to the debtor Certified mail and regular mail. We send the original to be filed with the clerk of the court the same day. Law requires that we provide 30 days notice to debtor before filing suit.

Usually we get the return receipt back; sometimes there are issues with the debtors address; there is no one answer fits all. We move as fast as we can. We NEVER give less than the 30 day notice.

After we clear up the issue of notice we ask for approval to foreclose. I recommend that he board authorize management to do so as these are critical times in the industry and delay is bad.
After we get authority to foreclose, we filed the complaint with the court, lis pendens and serve the suit on the debtor. We wait until 30 days after service of the suit on the debtor (time for service varies, maybe out of state, avoiding the process server, whatever) before seeking a default from the clerk of the court if they do not answer.

Usually 3/4 of people who have not paid arrange to make payment at this point including all fees and costs, interest, etc.

If they continue to ignore us, we seek summary judgment; that usually takes 10 more days to get filed and a hearing date is set about 30 days later.

Usually 3/4 of the remaining people pay by this time or make arrangements to do so.
At the summary judgment hearing, we ask for sale of the unit on the courthouse steps to satisfy the amounts due. Usually the court sets it 30 days later.

If we go to sale, we bid up to the amount of the judgment; if someone goes higher, the association is paid in full as well as all interest, costs, etc...if not (about 1 in 200) the association takes title to the unit.

If there is a first mortgage it is subject to that mortgage, what most people do not understand is that no payments are taxes, no insurance, only make sure liability insurance in place.

Usually at this point we try to rent it month to month just to recover lost assessments. I hardly ever ask for fees, and rarely ask for costs to be repaid, as by the time of sale I have about $800 in hard money paid out for the benefit of the association. Given the current environment, I am considering to ask to be reimbursed for my out of pocket costs if nothing is realized at the sale...that is done on a case by case basis.

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