HOA Collections: Is Your Minnesota Community Being Proactive?
Step 1: Communicate & EducateIt’s pretty common for a large number of homeowners in a community to not fully understand what services their association assessments pay for. Utilize any chance you get to communicate to homeowners about upcoming maintenance projects, planned capital improvement projects and the budget. It’s okay to remind homeowners that routine cleaning, maintenance services and large scale projects are dependent upon a healthy operating expense account - which is funded by assessments, the Association’s primary source of income.
Step 2: Keep it SimpleDon’t give homeowners the excuse ‘I didn’t know that was an option’. Make sure the association provides all homeowners with a list of available payment options that include detailed instructions for each method, are readily available, and simple to understand and use. Again, take every opportunity to remind your community that there are multiple ways to make a payment. These reminders could be included in your community’s newsletter, on the community website, in an email blast, or on-site in a community center or central lobby.
Don't forget to make it pretty! Keep the delivery of all communications attractive and bright to increase the odds your audience will actually read through the piece.
Step 3: Be Fair and ConsistentThe Board should adopt and approve an official collection policy, if one is not spelled out in the governing documents. Consistently adhering to the policy is your best bet to navigating a sticky situation.
Your Minnesota HOA should not look at late fees as additional income. It benefits your community association more if everyone pays, and pays on-time. These should strictly be looked at as tools to deter homeowners from making late payments. So waiving late fees and declining to impose them sends a message that it’s okay to make late payments.
In short, the best way to manage your HOA’s collections process is to first adopt and approve an official collection policy; second, communicate the policy to all homeowners; and third, stick to it! Not sure where to start or if the policy your association has in place is effective? Contact FirstService Residential today.