Community association assessments fund vital aspects of every community association, including, but certainly not limited to, landscaping, maintenance of common elements, and insurance. As condominium and homeowner associations obtain virtually all of their revenue through fees paid by the owners, when one owner does not pay his/her fair share, the rest of the community must make up the difference. This is not only unfair to the owners that pay in full and on time but can lead to deferred maintenance and, in turn, decreased property values. To combat the problem of delinquent owners, our attorneys are involved in every step of the collection process and advise the board members and the association’s manager on all collection-related issues.
When it comes to collection action on our clients' behalf, Kaman & Cusimano has two goals:
- Collect as much money as possible as quick as possible, and
- Pursue collections as aggressively as possible to “stop the bleeding” from lost revenue to the community.
As 100% of our practice is dedicated to representing Ohio condominium and homeowner associations, we have been able to develop and fine-tune successful collection strategies and procedures to meet our clients’ needs.
Collection Procedures – We work with each client to draft and implement a customized collection procedure to streamline the process with a fair and objective approach. By closely following the procedure, approved by the association board, we are able to help our clients address each collections case efficiently and uniformly and we work hard to put the association in the strongest position possible to maximize recovery in each case.
Collection Letters – One of the effective collection tools associations have is the ability for an attorney to send a collection letter to the delinquent owner. By asserting this interest, the board is placing the delinquent owner on notice that the association takes the debt seriously and will pursue its legal options necessary to collect.
Liens - Ohio law permits both condominium and homeowner associations to file liens on accounts that are as little as ten days late. We believe filing a lien against the property is one of the most effective tools for preserving the association’s interest and protecting it against other potential claims. We also believe that consistent and diligent communications to the delinquent owner serves notice that the association takes the debt seriously and will pursue its legal options necessary to collect.
Foreclosure – Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond any community association’s control, many homes are in foreclosure, whether initiated by a lending institution or the association itself. Kaman & Cusimano attorneys routinely handle all the intricacies of this process and adeptly advise the community association boards on the best, and most cost effective, way to proceed in a foreclosure case. By utilizing creative tools such as mediation, refinancing, and payment plans, our clients receive payment in full in more than 75% of the foreclosure cases we handle.
Bankruptcy - Even if an owner files for bankruptcy protection, the association still has rights and may collect on some, or all, of the debt. At Kaman & Cusimano, our attorneys help guide associations in taking steps to be in the best position possible to maximize recovery while still remaining in full compliance with all bankruptcy laws and limitations.
Judgment Collections – We routinely obtain personal judgments against owners who do not pay their fair share of association assessments. We also use state-of-the-art technology to locate owners and identify any assets from which to collect through bank attachments, wage garnishments, and judgment liens on other real property, sometimes even years after the delinquent owner has moved away from the community.
ATLAS – Collecting funds is vitally important to every condominium and homeowner association and each board member, so we developed ATLAS, the Association Total Legal Assistance System, for the board members and property managers, serving the associations we represent, to access real-time status reports on every pending collections case. This exclusive tool provides up-to-the-second information that board members need to make important and informed financial decisions. For more information on ATLAS and how it can benefit your association, please visit the “What is ATLAS?” page.