The slowly-ebbing recession that’s been going on in South Florida and across the nation since the mid-2000s has affected far more than home prices and mortgage rates; it also has a huge effect on monthly HOA fees.
The great majority of co-op and condo residents in the region pay their monthly maintenance—or HOA—fees on time and in full with no problem, but the financial crisis changed the picture drastically for many residents, and while the recession may be over, their buildings are still feeling the effects of late and missing maintenance payments, owners unable to pay special assessments, and so forth. This is to say nothing of shareholders or unit owners who withhold maintenance payments for the same reasons rental tenants withhold rent. They may feel that non-payment punishes the board or management for some shortcoming—real or perceived.
Having maintenance payments in arrears is a problem not just for the resident in question, however, but also for the whole building community but there are ways that boards and managers can help get non-paying residents back on track while being mindful of the hard times that many are feeling, and before resorting to collection agencies or legal action.
Marc Evans, a senior account executive with LM Funding, a Tampa-based financial services company that provides principal secured funding to condominium associations facing delinquencies, says he’s heard every excuse in the book as to why people haven’t paid their maintenance fees.
“You hear the whole gamut,” Evans says. “There are people who say that their property value decreased, so they decided that they were going to let the money go back to the bank, and there are others who just couldn’t pay. They thought that their property values were going back up.” Others find themselves in a situation where they could afford the unit but then couldn’t afford the assessments that went with it, Evans says.