Call to Action – We need your help now!
Members of our Community Association industry – we need your help now! There’s a link to the Call to Action at the end of this blog if you want to skip there – but the meat of it is important too. I hope you read on.
We are living in unprecedented times. Incomes of many homeowners (inevitably in our communities due to the scale of the impact of this pandemic) have been significantly reduced and/or eliminated. Many clients have asked, “what should we be doing about delinquencies in our communities?” My advice right now, in this time of uncertainty is for Boards to consider the hardships that their residents may be experiencing and to be willing to work with residents to ensure that homeowners and our associations are both able to meet their needs to support their families and communities. What does this mean? It may mean, agreeing to a waiver of late fees/interest if requested from owners on accounts. It may also mean allowing a longer payment plan that is required or generally allowed. It also means continuing to file liens to ensure that the Association’s interests are protected and following your Association’s policies regarding collections.
The Community Association Institute (CAI) recently released a position statement regarding pursuing foreclosures during this pandemic, which follows the same guidelines as laid out above. It does recommend a moratorium on foreclosures for the next (at least) 60 days (which I absolutely agree with as foreclosing at this time on any delinquent owner would be a PR nightmare).
In summary, we have to remember that many people are having to make hard choices on which bills to pay. We also have to remember that associations are non-profit corporations with Boards that have a fiduciary duty to protect, preserve, and enhance the property values in the community. Part of that is ensuring that the governing documents for the association are followed, and to determine on a case by case basis waivers for members of your community. In sum, keep on keeping on – and do so with compassion.
All that being said – we have a CALL TO ACTION – the financial health of your Association relies on it. There is currently a proposal for a Nationwide Debt Collection Moratorium which would prohibit all debt collection activities while the COVID-19 national emergency is effective and for 120 days after. CAI National has put together an easy way to contact your elected officials to oppose this legislation. Your help is needed and you can learn more (and craft your letter to your elected officials) here.
Stay well, folks.