Collecting dues from residents who are behind on payment can be a constant struggle for HOAs, especially in tough economic times. While residents who plead financial hardship are often telling the truth (though the weak economy and a soft job market also provide a perfect excuse for residents who could pay, but have chosen not to), non-payment of dues still costs HOAs money that needs to be spent on the upkeep of the community. Because of that, residents often need to be made to feel pressure that gets them to become current with their payments. One of the most common measures an HOA can take in these instances is revoking the use of amenities. If used effectively, taking away amenities is a great way to encourage residents who are behind on their payments to get back in the association’s good graces.
Can Amenities Be Revoked?
Most of the time, provisions in an HOA’s covenants and bylaws allow for the revocation of use of amenities by residents who are behind on their dues. Usually, there is a grace period in which residents can pay delinquent dues without punishment. The community’s bylaws will specify exactly what privileges can be suspended due to non-payment after that.
Using Amenities to Recover Dues
Having their amenities revoked is often an inconvenience great enough that it will get residents who are in arrears to come up with payment as quickly as possible. After all, community features are one of the main reasons people move into neighborhoods controlled by an HOA in the first place. This is especially true of amenities like parking privileges. Revoking access to a pool or a community room may only be a slight inconvenience, but losing access to parking is a big enough deal that it can be leveraged against otherwise uncooperative residents. The threat of having their car booted or towed is enough to inspire most people to action.
When attempting to collect delinquent dues from residents, be sure to keep in mind which amenities those residents would miss the most. Focusing collection efforts on making it clear that the use of those amenities will be revoked if payment isn’t made is a tool that an HOA can use with incredibly effective results.
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