When a Board or Property Manager sends a Unit Owner to its attorneys for collection, the Board or Property Manager should refer ALL communications from the Unit Owner relative to the debt, including the request for any pay off, to the attorney. Discussion by the Property Manager or Board with the Unit Owner almost always leads to problems.
Here is why:
- The Unit Owner wants to pay the least amount possible and will construe any ambiguity from any discussions on the debt balance in their favor. Sometimes it seems like Unit Owners even intentionally misconstrue the discussions just so they can contest the debt
- It is extremely unlikely that the Board or Property manager will actually know all of the costs and attorney fees incurred to date and needed in the future (e.g. to release a lien and dismiss a case) while the case is pending;
- Delinquent Unit Owners will make calls to both the attorneys and property managers and will always pay the lowest payoff number they are given, even though they are told not to talk to the Board or property manager; and
- It makes the Board and Property Manager’s life MUCH easier if they just say – “Your matter has been turned over to the attorney for collection, please contact them for your payoff.”
Following this simple rule will make the job of the Board and Property Manager MUCH more pleasant.
Many of the Associations and Property Managers The Husch Blackwell Condominium & HOA Law Team work with have a special status they mark for unit owners in collections in their accounting system. The status denotes that the unit owner is in collections and no information should be given to them, and that they should be directed to contact our team. We have found this system to work particularly well as it helps ensure that the Associations we represent collect all or most of the funds they are due. Our team has a proven collection strategy. Since 2012, we have collected over $8.6 million in dollars and property. You can learn more about why our collection strategy works in this white paper or radio spot.