Every HOA board always hopes that the residents in the community will pay their dues on time and a situation never has to arise in which they are forced to call on the help of a collection company to collect the funds. However, almost all HOA board members will have to deal with this occurrence at least once during their tenure.
Although HOAs are not liable for any breaches of the law on the part of the agency, it is important that you take the time to select a company that can gain the missing dues without violating the rights of the homeowner or breaking any laws. Here are some tips on how to choose a collection agency for your HOA.
See if the Company Has Been Involved in Any Lawsuits
It can actually be fairly easy to see if the company you are considering has been involved in any large scandals or lawsuits. Spend some time searching for the company online, reading reviews, and researching whether there are any news articles or other reports that show the business in a negative light.
Be Wary of Hidden Fees
Hiring a collection agency should, and will, cost money. Be wary of any company that advertises a price that is too good to be true. If the price seems cheap, most likely that is because there are hidden fees that will hit when your HOA is least expecting it. Stick for a company that is straightforward about the cost.
Talk to Other Communities
Other HOAs can be a valuable resource when deciding which collection agency to use. Talk to other members of your area to see what companies they have used, and whether they had a good or a bad result.
Acquire Reports of Former Collections
It is important to find out how much the company is collecting from the homeowner above and beyond what is owed. It is perfectly legal to request a report from the agency that edits out personal information but includes recent accounts with the amount owed and the amount collected. Beware of companies that show a huge difference between the two numbers.
Keep Community First
Be sure to always remember that homeowners with delinquent accounts are still members of the community with their own story. Although the HOA should be treated as seriously as any other business, these people are still people that live alongside you. Whether or not the reasons behind the late payments are valid, aggressive companies that harass the homeowners in your community are not ideal, and can sometimes be more ineffective. Search for an agency that will treat residents with respect.
When the time comes to call on the aid of a collection agency, it is important to not hastily choose the company. It is crucial to show your love of the community by spending the time and energy to choose a company that will simultaneously do its job while maintaining the dignity of your residents. Doing this will uphold your obligations as a member of the board, and strengthen the community.