When living in a homeowners association residents are expected to pay assessments that are used to make the community a nice place to live. These fees contribute to utility and vendor bills, maintenance, short term and long term projects, and upkeep of amenities such as the pool.
Often, the following method of “encouraging” owners to pay their assessments is difficult to implement and/or enforce within many Associations, but when there is a clear and simple way to get this done, the results can be very effective. The following example shows how one homeowners association was able to effectively implement this method.
In my experience as an HOA property manager, I have sometimes gone through the process of working with Boards to brainstorm what aspects of the Association mean the most to the homeowners. At one of the Associations I work with the answer was pool privileges. This homeowners association had only one amenity and decided to use the pool in a manner that would encourage homeowners to pay delinquent assessments.
Bids were secured for new wrought iron fencing around the pool and instead of using a key for the pool gate, which is hard to recall if back assessments have not been paid, a keypad was installed on the new pool gate. Each homeowner was given a four digit gate code. By using gate codes the Association saved the price of providing keys to all of the owners. In addition, this allowed the Association to remove pool codes when assessments were left unpaid. The pool gate keypad has been a great assistance in promoting collection of assessment debts, especially during the hot summer days.
As an extra bonus, the keypad has allowed the homeowners association to remove codes for homeowners who do not comply with pool rules, which are clearly posted on the gate before entering the pool.
Every HOA board struggles with collecting unpaid assessments that can cause underfunding of their Operating and Reserve accounts, which in turn can make it difficult for an Association to perform needed maintenance and/or pay ongoing bills to utilities and vendors.
As a Board, you may be able to brainstorm your homeowners association’s ability to draw on the usage of amenities as a method to promote collection of unpaid assessments.