Times Call for an Aggressive Assessment Collection Policy

In these times of historic levels of foreclosures, a condominium and homeowners association should adopt a one word assessment collection policy--Aggressive.

Assessments are the life blood of an Association. Failure of owners to pay assessments when due can result in financial hardship on the Association and can jeopardize the ability of other homeowners and purchasers to obtain mortgage financing.

If the unit owner is not paying their assessments, their is a good chance that the owner is not paying their mortgage, and a foreclosure can result that wipes out the Association's lien for unpaid assessments. The risk of this loss can be minimized, and often eliminated etirely, by implementation of an aggressive collection policy. Therefore, prompt and aggressive action needs to be taken to collect assessments from delinquent owners.

In general, an owner that is sixty days in arrears to the Association should be turned over to the Association's attorney for collection action.

In Illinois, the most utilized and effective collection procedure is the Forcible Entry and Detainer (Eviction) suit. This action can result in a personal money judgment against the unit owner and an order for possession, whereby the Association obtains possession (not ownership) of the owner's unit. If the owner does not pay the judgment within the time specified by the Court (at least 60 days), the Association then leases the unit to a third party and applies the rent received to the unpaid assessment and legal fees.

"Contributed by David Bendoff, attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit"