Thursday, November 20, 2014

Community Association Collections: What's In Your Wallet?



            As the end of 2014 approaches, many community associations and board members will be forced to deal with the issue of how well they fared with resolving homeowner delinquencies for the past year.  According to an article published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, a Washington, D.C based organization, New Jersey “leads the nation in the rate of foreclosures started in the third quarter”.  

            As the mortgage foreclosure crisis continues to loom large in the Garden State, and certain communities continue to deal with “zombie properties”, boards are forced to revisit the approach taken in connection with the collection of delinquent owner accounts.

The delay in the mortgage foreclosure process not only affects the association, it also affects the homeowners who continue to remain responsible for the fees until such time as the property is sold or taken back by the lender after a sheriff’s sale.   Many individuals and boards may not be aware that the responsibility to pay the fees, post –petition, continues notwithstanding that an owner was discharged in bankruptcy and has vacated the property.    

            Has the board taken action to aggressively pursue the delinquency or is the strategy to sit back and wait for the lender to foreclose?

            Is the board properly advised regarding all the possible legal options that are available to recover the past due fees?

            There may be a light at the end of the tunnel.   A cost-effective, well- researched collection strategy has afforded many associations the ability to recover delinquent fees and attorneys’ fees that it may never have anticipated.    Are you laughing all the way to the bank?  What’s in your wallet?