Dealing with a non-paying homeowner

5 Replies

I am currently serving on the board of our HOA, along with two other officers. Our complex is only 8 units. We have one owner who had stopped paying dues (or only making partial payments) back in 2016-2017. He went through a bankruptcy a couple years back, and as I understand it, that provided him a stay on having to pay any of his unpaid dues (at least up until that point?) The bankruptcy settlement paid us something like 10% of the dues owed each month after that and the owner continued to not pay current dues through to early 2019.

In early 2019 the the owner moved out and started renting the unit out. Since that point, he has been paying the current month's dues. However, he is still almost $5k delinquent on past dues.

What are our options for recovering the delinquent dues?

Place a lien on his home?

Hire an attorney and sue for the balance?

The hoa pays for the garbage service for the complex. Could we suspend service for just that unit in hopes to force them to come back in good standing?

The hoa also pays for water service because the entire complex is metered as one (which also sucks, btw). If we could find a way to meter each unit separately, could we try to suspend water service for that unit?

Its incredibly frustrating that a homeowner can rent their unit out, for a pretty good sum, and not suffer any consequences for non-payment of past dues. Any insight or advice is appreciated!

This is important and you shouldn't look for free advice from strangers that are likely to steer you wrong. Your HOA Board has governing docs that should explain the process of dealing with non-paying owners. Because you're a small board, that may not be clear. In that case, you need to consult an attorney to ensure you comply with the state law and your governing docs. There is a process but it is long and typically expensive.

@Marvin Z. I totally agree with what @Nathan G. wrote and will add that if your HOA docs are not clear on the matter and if you don't have strong policies in place then that should be the goal of this existing BOD to fix so that it can't happen again. Don't pick just any attorney - find one that has a specialty in HOAs.

Thanks everyone! And hear you all loud and clear on the attorney part. I was already expecting to go in that direction because I know how sensitive this can be but I'm also trying to weigh the costs of hiring the attorney versus what can be recouped in delinquent dues (although I do know that our CCnRs have some language to allow us to recapture this in the lien as well). Really I just want to be armed with as much information as possible regarding the potential 'solution set' as we start looking for a suitable attorney. 

I agree with Nathan. Cases I've seen the homeowner pays every few years because for some reason they can't be bothered to pay monthly or in advance. Of they file against the home making the owner pay up or foreclose and then the HOA gets their money.

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