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Subject: Is it legal for the HOA to post members that are delinquent on their dues on a public web-site
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SidneyP
(Florida)

Posts:302


06/27/2007 12:11 PM  
I for one feel that the delinquent accounts should be posted for "HO's to see" or perhaps a reversal...post all HO addresses and beside each post a paid notice, leaving the unpaid blank....We have six in our community who have NOT paid in over two years (we pay semi-annually @$372. now $409. ($818. a year), that's alot of money). All of these homes/units are rentals and have been rented all this time. They have the money to pay but choose not to. They all have liens on them but the investors don't seem to care. They seem to know that it's unreasonable for us to foreclose (one has already been foreclosed by the bank). What would our neighborhood look like and where would we come up w/the money to file?

Don't know much about real estate investing but maybe they feel it's ok to hang onto these properties a few years then sell, make a good profit and then pay the dues. I have no idea their reasoning but they just won't pay. So, in our case it's not HO's who have run into financial trouble. We even changed MC's, this one saying they would be aggressive in collecting but still nothing has happened.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8753


06/27/2007 3:32 PM  
So Sydney, your okay if I post and make available your personal information? If it's okay to post others, then it should be okay to print yours. Are you okay with that? What if you were sick that month and simply forgot to pay on time? What if it was a mistake? I think if it was YOUR information available the shoe would be on the other foot and fast.

A lien means the person can NOT sell their home until they pay off the lien. So it doesn't matter how long they stay owner's of that house, the money should still be accumulating. By the time they get around to selling, this will be a hurdle for them to overcome. That's may be why they are keeping it rental. They can rent the house out as long as they want, they just can't sell it. Renting atleast allows them to keep their mortgage payments.

Banks don't notify HOA's they are foreclosing on the property. A property can be up to date on it's dues and still be foreclosed on by a bank. It costs a few thousand dollars for a HOA to foreclose on a house. Then if they do foreclose, the bank is given the money FIRST, then the HOA if there is any money owed to the bank. So the HOA can get rid of a non-paying member but not gain a penny in return. They'd be lucky to even break even.

Your HOA should be placing liens on non-payers. Liens are subject to public record. Our liens are printed in the newspaper after being placed. No secret there. Liens aren't "instant" money. They take time to collect. They are more reliable than lawsuits. A lawsuit just grants a "judgement" which means the homeowner can sale their property without paying the judgement for years. Atleast with a lien, the owner can't sell without paying.

I think you should read more posts on this website. You will find more relevant information on the cons of posting information. You may also be more informed of the rights of the HOA, Owners, and Renters. Please review.

Former HOA President
JohnC10
(Arizona)

Posts:106


06/27/2007 3:39 PM  
Posted By SidneyP on 06/27/2007 12:11 PM
I for one feel that the delinquent accounts should be posted for "HO's to see" or perhaps a reversal...post all HO addresses and beside each post a paid notice, leaving the unpaid blank....




That's very creative, I like it. Perhaps a community map with "paid" listed next to the lot numbers.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


06/27/2007 4:02 PM  
A lawsuit just grants a "judgement" which means the homeowner can sale their property without paying the judgement for years. Atleast with a lien, the owner can't sell without paying.




Actually, in Virginia you can file the judgment in circuit court for a few bucks and it works just like a lien; the person will not be able to sell the house without that popping up against them.

I would think that all associations would want to collect the money, rather than waiting until the person goes to sell their house. The lien/filed judgemnt protects the association while they go about the business of collecting the money. You can attach bank accounts normally and it works like a champ. There are other things that can be done also, far short of foreclosure. Again, all this might differ state to state so one would have to find out the options in their state.
BradD2
(Florida)

Posts:418


06/27/2007 4:09 PM  
It works that way in most states.
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


06/27/2007 4:22 PM  
I'm not sure how the small claims thing works if the person would just be refinancing, for example. I know that if the homeowner has a lien, that the refinancing stops until the lien is paid, and, in some places, it also affects their credit score.

Not sure if the small claims venue does that.

In our HOA, we pay on an annual basis one flat amount. The due date is January 1 of the year in which the dues apply. On January 7 we send a "status report" to all homeowners with each lot listed by address in address order. The report indicates only "paid" or "not paid" for the current year. The letter that goes along with it thanks those who have paid, and reminds those who haven't that they have 15 more days to pay before late fees are added.

At the end of January we send a second status report with the same indication, on this time it says "paid" or "not paid - late fees applied." We also then remind the residents that if the dues + late fees not paid by XXXx date, a lien will be filed, which will incur an additional $XX.

On the date the liens are filed, a status report goes to everyone with the addresses listed as either "paid" or "lien."

We still have people who don't give a rat's patootey, but out of 275 homes we have about 12 liens, on average, each year. Then we also get about 3 to 5 on average "pay off" as one or another either refinances or sells their home.

RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


06/27/2007 4:44 PM  
Michelle,
When I read a post like yours I realize again how inadequate our management over the years has been. It is not the subject or if it is right or wrong it is just the fact that a Board can sit down and come up with something that is proactive, clear, and sounds like a rule you should follow if you want to be a part of the community. My experience has been that the Boards seem incapable of taking a business necessity and putting out something that makes sense. And once this starts in the life of the Regime it is almost like a requirement to react in a defensive manner, run around the bush, don't read what they publish, refuse to communicate and worest of all insist on expounding how wonderful they are doing their job at annual meeting. You don't even need a calander to know the date. Couple weeks before annual meeting people start popping out of woodwork, planting flowers all blooming, trimming, cleaning up the complex, painting, and just having a grand time rushing here and there. I am not saying our place is ill kept but we sure know how to put on a good face when the time comes down to sit across from the membership.
BradP
(Kansas)

Posts:2640


06/28/2007 6:32 AM  
"Banks don't notify HOA's they are foreclosing on the property."


Melissa:

Actually that is not accurate, as I stated before we just got a summons to go to court over a foreclosure in our neighborhood.
SidneyP
(Florida)

Posts:302


06/28/2007 11:32 AM  
MellissaP1-
Post 353....."So Sydney, your okay if I post and make available your personal information? If it's okay to post others, then it should be okay to print yours. Are you okay with that? What if you were sick that month and simply forgot to pay on time? What if it was a mistake? I think if it was YOUR information available the shoe would be on the other foot and fast."

Yes, it is ok to print my personal information, (this is not the world business but it is the business of the HOA's since we share in this corportation and it's responsibilities). Is it ok to print the names of dead beat dad's, child sex offenders? You darn right it is. When HO's don't fulfill their responsibilities to the community, they must realize they are hurting others..In my case,these are investors, they have the money to pay. I know several of these owners and they live in million dollar homes on the water here in Flordia. Yes, this subject has been discussed many times on this forum and true people may be sick or have personal financial problems but it is up to them to come forward and explain to the BOD's of their accociation about their problem. Each giving the other a chance to work things out and figure out, not just ignoring the problem. What about the HO's that are paying, they may be struggling too to make these payments but are doing the right thing by keeping their responsibility to the community. We are a very small community (77 units) and were left w/inadequate funds and a low ball budget by the developer. If fact we ran out of money last year (mainly because of no pays), why our dues were raised. When HO's don't pay they cause a hardship on all the other HO's. Suppose a "special assessment" was needed, again a burden on the paying HO's and as I said before, they may very well be having a hard time paying these dues themselves. I feel sorry for people who fall into hard times (I've been there) but I don't feel sorry for people who feel they owe no responsibility to the community.

I for one am tired of paying to mow their lawn week after week, tired of pressure washing their home and most especially having all the violations being broken by their tentants. It is these tentants, that don't pick up after their dogs, that park their cars in the grass, running over the sprinklers that the paying HO's have to pay to get fixed....OH!yes, we do send letters but like the delinquent notices, we never get a reply or a fix to the problem....Collecting on a lien many years down the road doesn't help the situation now, doesn't pay the bills now. So, I say post that HO's "paid" list.
JeanneK3
(Maryland)

Posts:562


06/28/2007 12:36 PM  
I took the CAI course "The Essentials of Community Association Volunteer Leadership" in Columbia, Maryland a few weeks ago and an attorney who was giving the course said a Board may not close meetings to talk about deliquencies since every member of the "corporation" has a right to know what is going on and further you can publish the names of deliquent owners but you must never publish a dollar amount (you could be sued if that amount is wrong) and it must always be deliquent as of a certain date. I guess if you were not incorporated this would not apply.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


06/28/2007 1:20 PM  
I wonder what the logic is that if the dollar amount is wrong you might get sued, but if the actual fact of the delinquency is wrong you wouldn't. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

My CAI seminars were long ago and then they were saying don't post as if you are wrong you could be sued (dollar amount or fact being wrong).
JeanneK3
(Maryland)

Posts:562


06/28/2007 2:19 PM  
Judith C: I think the point is that members of the association have the right to any information about the association. You would not post these names on any site that was available to the public. But a password protected web site or a mailed newsletter would be appropriate. I must admit I don't think posting names is a good idea but it seems to be legal.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


06/28/2007 5:42 PM  
To all,
Lots of different viewpoints here and good cases pro and con. But, push comes to shove, if you happen to be the one that makes the decision, you are probably going to do the safest thing. If the board decides not to post names of those that have liens, I can't see where the council can make them other than through the courts or recall the Board and really, that will not solve the problem.
I think we are lumping this specific item by tying it to a Board that has lost the skill of communicating. That's a bad thing and if this lien business was an isolated instance, I doubt much would be made of it if the Board would communicate their reasons and work out a compromise, and in this case that could be a regular report by the board that details how much money is owed by how many people, efforts that have been make to collect and some data that would show how the Regime is doing historically. Isn't that what we are concerned with? Is our monmey being used prudently?
At least that is how I see it, I am much more concerned that the Board does their job well and is responsive and capable. Most folks never had aa job like the Board of a HOA and some are just not up to the task for a lot of reasons. There are good boards and bad boards, and the essential criteria is not do they post names of your neighbors, but much more how does the Board get this herd of cats going in the same direction.
DuaneW1
(Georgia)

Posts:34


07/01/2007 8:26 PM  
'I for one am tired of paying to mow their lawn week after week, tired of pressure washing their home and most especially having all the violations being broken by their tentants. It is these tentants, that don't pick up after their dogs, that park their cars in the grass, running over the sprinklers that the paying HO's have to pay to get fixed....OH!yes, we do send letters but like the delinquent notices, we never get a reply or a fix to the problem....Collecting on a lien many years down the road doesn't help the situation now, doesn't pay the bills now. So, I say post that HO's "paid" list.'

Boy, do I feel your pain! We just had a HOA meeting and one of the noisiest neighbors there complaining was one who hasn't paid, and yet only a handful of us know that, protecting them, so that they CAN gripe and have no consequences for their actions. Sure, they can't vote, or it's thrown out, but again, only a few people know that.

The assessments are sure to go up, since we've had so much vandalism to fix, adding that to the fees from attorneys/MC letters and fines which all go unanswered, meanwhile the faithful pay, and pay, and PAY.

It is extremely frustrating, and yet, there doesn't seem to be an adequate answer. Other than the answer that has been given already, yes, it's probably legal to publish on a limited site open only by password. I sure hope if anyone does this and it actually GETS THEM TO PAY, please come back on the site and tell us!
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


07/02/2007 12:17 AM  

DuaneW1,

I feel I can speak on behalf of the majority of the members that post to this discussion forum, by saying you are “beating a dead horse” concerning delinquent homeowners. Basically saying it’s not fair

This is my first year as a board member, and thinking of course I, (like many) felt that the previous board members were mismanaging what funds that were collected. I felt "I" could do a better job managing the funds collected to better me and my community, in the best way possible.

Legally I can’t tell you what you can or can not do, but I too (like many have suggested) would recommend not posting that particular information, password restricted or otherwise. I just feel it would cause more harm than good for you, your neighbors, (community) all to whom you are representing.

Neither I nor any one else is disagreeing with you (it’s an up hill battle) I think you would certainly feel better knowing you collected from those delinquent lot owners, without posting personal information. I personally feel you will be "digging your own grave”, which will ultimately affect every homeowner residing in your community.

I’ve re-read all the previously written posts and in the long run do what’s best for you and your community. One post in particular, written on 05/28/2007 by MelissaP1 states “I would highly recommend NOT posting this information. The collections information is for BOARD MEMBERS ONLY. The individual person may request information about their account but no one elses. The board members should also NEVER refer to the people who owe money by their names. It should be lot number or address.
There are many reasons why people are behind in their dues. Some are very personal and sensitive. This information should be treated as such. Plus, letting people know how much someone is behind can cause some kind of "vigilantism". Especially if the 2 neighbors don't like eachother. Collecting dues has to be done as a group effort and not as an individual. Hence, why HOA's are allowed to lien/foreclose.”

Please help us help you we are all aware of those exact same HOA problems,

“IF” you gather any productive ways to collect these assessments, please don’t hesitate to inform us. Many, (like you) get a little tired of paying for the “dead beets” living in our HOA today as well.

Best of luck.
Chuck W.

Charles E. Wafer Jr.
MikeF2
(Ohio)

Posts:5


07/02/2007 5:24 AM  
We explored the idea of posting the homeowners with delinquent association fees during a meeting of the Board of Managers in our newsletters to the membership. I felt it was best to keep this quiet due to friction from other people who do pay their fees on the first of each month. Suppose a comment was said bya current dues home owner to a delinquent and a fight escalated over it. Well we then have another problem to deal with.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/02/2007 5:33 AM  
Deliquent Homeowners,
When I read these posts about this subject I keep thinking of puting a round peg in a square hole. Something out of kilter. If the Membeers are not supposed to know who is deliquent, why should the board know? The Board should be focused on collecting any bad debts. So being a board member in this instance does not give them privy to knowledge the membership don't have.
Maybe this is a job for the treasuer. We are a funny lot, we don't rebel against our Board going into executive session, discussing something, taking action, and we don't have a clue what they are talking about. The Board should not stand above the membership, in fact the Board stands (in many ways) below the membership. I'm not advocating anything, I'm just thinking about different ways to look at a problem. I am not bothered by who is deliquent, but I am concerned that all should pay their share, and I am also very concerned that I be provided with the information by the board that reflects on the health of the association, especially now with this subprime lending disaster. If the Board elects not to publish names then the Board members as a whole do not need to know names, let the Treasuer or the manager handle the problem and report to the Board and Membership the fiscal information.
Just a thought.
DonN
(Michigan)

Posts:357


07/03/2007 3:47 PM  
Please read the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. A summary is available on Wikipedia at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Debt_Collection_Practices_Act. Wikipedia provides bullets for prohibited and required conduct. The prohibited conduct includes, "publishing the consumers name or address on a "bad debt" list".

Don Nordeen
Governance of Property Owners Associations
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/04/2007 6:29 AM  
Although I am solidly against posting the names of people who owe the association, it is my understanding that normally the Fair Debt Collection Act would not apply. In the same Wikipedia article it says "While the FDCPA generally only applies to third party debt collectors--not internal collectors for an "original creditor" " -- I think this is what the attorney probably was referring to. The association itself does not have to follow the FDCA, if we send it to him, he does.

So, although I would like to see posting of debtors outlawed, I don't think it is unless it is done by a third party, of which I would suspect the managing agent is one. I am not sure about the murkiness of if the managing agent is doing the homeowner accounts, and the board takes their data and posts it. Where it seems to be clear is if the association itself is doing the homeowner accounts and sends the tough cases to a third party to handle. In that circumstance, the association could in fact post the data if they believed in the scarlet letter approach to governance.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/04/2007 9:36 AM  

Judith,

Man, am I relieved, I thought you were referring to the big "A", Adultry, the Scarlet Letter. I'm glad HOA's don't have to sort that out.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/04/2007 10:35 AM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 07/04/2007 9:36 AM

Judith,

Man, am I relieved, I thought you were referring to the big "A", Adultry, the Scarlet Letter. I'm glad HOA's don't have to sort that out.




Ho, my laugh of the day. It was just the concept. We could always bring back the stocks too for public humiliation. That didn't seem quite right so I googled for methods of public chastisement -- see http://tinyurl.com/346akv
The finger pillory -- people sure have imaginations when it comes to others' transgressions.
BradD2
(Florida)

Posts:418


07/04/2007 4:50 PM  
Judith, from what I have read it does apply. Do a web search for "Association Fair Debt Collection Case". Within the first 40 - 50 hits you will probably find 10 lawsuits where Associations were sued and lost because of violations to the Fair Debt Collections Act.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/04/2007 8:32 PM  
It being late, I did a "quickie" search and what I was finding were a bunch of cases where the attorney firm collecting money for the association messed up and then tried to say that somehow association fees were not covered under the FDCA.

On the AHRC website I found an explanation which seemed to agree with what I was told:
"The FDCPA does not apply to a primary creditor collecting for itself. What this means to homeowners is that anyone who attempts to collect a debt from them on behalf of their association, who is not a title holding member, that regularly collects debts, is bound by the FDCPA and can be held accountable for violating this set of laws."

Onthecommons.us has a number of Fair Debt Cases listed. I downloaded about half of them, and again, it was usually attorneys trying to get out of following the act when collecting for an association -- I am not sure whether they deliberately ignore it or whether they mess up and then argue this theory about association debts not being covered. It was fun, though, as one law firm was an "ex" of ours who got us in near riot status through advice to a hot-headed president.

Now, one could easily argue that associations should follow the spirit of the act even if it doesn't apply to them in what they do personally to collect -- I would agree with that, but then I am against posting that information! I am for as much privacy as possible for the homeowner, and still maintain from an association point of view, that the very real possibility of an error would result in unnecessary embarrassment for the homeowner and possibly worse for the association. I had a bank tell me once that they never made mistakes. I certainly can't say that of myself nor the post office.
JosephW
(Michigan)

Posts:882


07/05/2007 8:58 AM  
Try this article for a more detailed look (even though its an older article)

http://dicklerlaw.lawoffice.com/news_fair.htm

Joe

Joseph West
Official HOATalk.com Sponsor
Community Associations Network, LLC
www.CommunityAssociations.net

*See legal notice below (end of page) or go to www.hoatalk.com/legal
JohnC10
(Arizona)

Posts:106


07/05/2007 10:07 AM  
In my HOA the MC tends to file a lien for as little as a hundred dollars. In the county I live a person can view all recorded documents on the county recorder's website, a public domain. That means I can view all liens the HOA has filed.

According to the CC&Rs the lien must have the owner's name, legal address and street address. If the county can legally post this info to the public it seems reasonable that the HOA can publish the same info for the members.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/05/2007 10:32 AM  
Joe, sorry, this article says the same thing:

"The law does have an exception. Any entity that is owed money, may communicate directly with the debtor without complying with the Act. Thus, the association can write directly to the unit owner and demand payment or threaten eviction without complying with the requirements of the FDCPA. However, if there is any third party that is involved even if the third party writes the letter for the association to sign, then there must be compliance with the FDCPA in all respects or there is a potential for serious liability, penalties and attorneys fees."

Attorneys, managers, etc. must obey the act but not the association if they act directly. It applies to third party collectors. However, the beginning of the next paragraph does say it would be good for associations to apply it to themselves.

This was an interesting article, though, as it explains why there are so many FDC cases where the attorney is arguing that the dues debt does not apply. I thought they were just being inventive!
JosephW
(Michigan)

Posts:882


07/05/2007 1:26 PM  
Judith,

Wasn't disagreeing - just deferring to someone with a more direct knowledge.

Joe

Joseph West
Official HOATalk.com Sponsor
Community Associations Network, LLC
www.CommunityAssociations.net

*See legal notice below (end of page) or go to www.hoatalk.com/legal
BradD2
(Florida)

Posts:418


07/05/2007 3:39 PM  
Juidth the part of that law that we are discussing is notifying a third party of a debt.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/05/2007 4:09 PM  
Whatever, that wasn't what I was discussing. The person who owes is not a third party, and the association per se is not a third party. It is only when the association hires someone (their attorney, property manager, etc.) to collect the debt that a third party gets involved and that person must obey the FDCPA. The association, acting solely on their own does not, that is all I was saying and so far all the references agree.

I got involved in this distinction because our docs strangely give a 30 day period in which the homeowner can pay. The way they are worded, the homeowner is not overdue until after that 30 days is up. I was sending out three notices on my own and then would send the case to the attorney at the end of it. I talked to the attorney whether we could shorten the time line which ended up being about 90 days, and it turned out not much within the parameters that the board wanted to do as he had to obey the FDCPA meaning if we he took over the third letter he had to wait a prescribed number of days. So, we had the association send all the letters and then when it went to the attorney he went directly to court.
BradD2
(Florida)

Posts:418


07/06/2007 11:34 PM  
Wrong; that isn't how the courts have ruled in the past. They view public disclosure as the public being the third party.

If you post the information on a board in the community then everyone who comes into the community sees it. If you post the information on a website then everyone who visits can views it; search engines will find your obscure page in time. If you send it out in a letter then you are telling all the neighbors about it.

Be sure to come back here and let us know what happened when you are sued.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/07/2007 4:16 AM  
Do you have a particular court case you can cite?
As I say, I am against the practice so I won't be back telling you the results of doing it, it is just everything that I read sounds as if the association itself does the accounts and posts the notices, it would be legal. Now,I would imagine that certainly there is a huge liability issue if they are wrong, so I would suspect there are cases like that -- but that wasn't the subject, nor is the subject whether the debt itself falls under the act which it does.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/07/2007 4:47 AM  
Brad and Judith,
What is your considered opinion? Say an HOA puts on their web site a section that could be titled "Supplement to Financcial report."
List all units by name and number. Each month BEFORE fees are due, list for each unit amount due and date due. Then if you are not paying fees, it is evident on the amount due posting.
Now if 99% are up to date, you wouldn't have to change those monthly figures, just those that don't pay, but at each posting all would owe something.

Would I do it personally? I think I might if it served the purpose. Boards are forever having to post amounts due for fines, special assessments, all kinds of things.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/07/2007 5:14 AM  
Robert, I wouldn't do that either as it is just a thinly disguised posting of delinquents, or rather who the association thinks is delinquent.

As far as websites go in general, I think it is a bad idea to post anything so if someone went and Googled a person's name, something negative would show up. Too many people Google others now just to see if they are real, what they are like, etc. so I think one should be careful about using names. That little rule would allow addresses to be put up but not names, though in this case I would not do that either.

I guess my question is how does it do anyone any good? I guess I am prejudiced because the only people who wanted to see the exact assessment information by household were the neighborhood snoops. I do think it important for people to be aware of your enforcement efforts on assessments and there is "one household that owes $$, they have been sent to the attorney for collection". You could post the list of numbers with no identifying names/addresses next to them -- that would serve the purpose of informing the membership.

In my experience, the best deterrent to people being late in payments is have your collection policy be extremely consistent. Don't send a letter in 15 days one time, two months another time. Have people be aware that you are on top of it and if they do nothing, collection efforts will proceed and they will end up paying far more than if they just coughed up the money now. Saying this, I admit we have reasonably low assessments, not like a condo, and I think the difference between people owing chump change and a significant amount of money is considerable. It is probably why a consistent policy works so well for us -- if you let the chump change grow into a significant amount people have a harder time paying and ignore your efforts.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/07/2007 5:30 AM  
Judith,
Are you saying that you would use my proposed method if only unit numbers are used?
I have a different view of why condo owners want to know who is not paaying. First it is money involved, and second it is a desire to know that money is being spent wisely. In our case we have big dues, minmal real accounting, no sunshine efforts, and 90% absentee owners. I believe it is encumbent on the board to post as much information to the regime as possible. Developss interest and helps support any special assessments. Of course none of that seems to work very well around here. We have a special assessment that is now in it's fith or sixth year and I bet if you asked 80% of the owners what it was originally slated for, they couldn't tell you, and that includes new owners, and thosse that sold.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/07/2007 6:34 AM  
Robert, wouldn't posting the numbers with no identifiers at all satisfy the need for sunshine about what the board is doing management wise? Of course, if they are ignoring collections it might give others the idea that they can deadbeat the association too -- yikes! What are you going to do with the addresses or names of the owers, write them personally? Or, do you think public humiliation will increase compliance? Do those that don't pay even look at the website to know they are on a list there? I would seriously consider whether there are any benefits that would outweigh the risks, and if I posted the numbers with any kind of identifiers at all there would be a prominent statement about how these are the alleged balances. Yes, I would consider posting the address, though, better than posting the name as it avoids the "Google defamation of character".

You know, oddly perhaps, our offsite owners were usually extremely regular about paying. A lot of them had managers for the property and payments got straightened out once I asked all of the managers how they wanted the notices to be identified. Usually they have automatic check generation and the notice that was going astray was the increase notice. However, if something got lost in the mail, our warning notices sometimes did not make it to the right person until I got the identification problem straightened out. Also sometimes people change managers and don't notify the association so that can cause problems. Anyhow, even those that paid themselves were usually on my "good guys" list. (There were some people that were so regular about paying if they showed up late you checked your own system first, or suspected massive breakdown of USPS -- that was the "good guys" list.)

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8753


07/07/2007 12:48 PM  
Have we not had enough of this post yet??? To sum it all up, it's not a good idea to post individuals names that owe money. It really isn't going to accomplish anything except arguments and unwanted attention on BOTH sides. It's just another "drama" for the HOA to focus on than actually doing what they should be doing. That's collecting the debts the legal way of lien or foreclosure. Bullying someone isn't going to make them pay squat just make them angrier.

If a member is behind on dues, then concentrate on the LEGAL means of collecting. You will get better results this way and get the right direction going to collect debts. Spending time announcing to the world someone is a debtor is a waste of time and energy best spent somewhere else educating on the real way to handle members like this.

Let's stop debating this issue, and start working on fixing the "Real" problem. Enforcing the rules and not lollygagging around inventing new ideas of collecting that aren't exactly legal. The CC&R's allows the LEGAL collection of debts, go on and use them! Thank you!

P.s. Feel much better thanks!

Former HOA President
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/07/2007 2:03 PM  
Melissa,
As a former board president you must know how difficult and how expensive it is to file a lien, hire a lawyer and go to court. How in the world are you going to depend on a board, and a lot of them are this way, and a lot are abssentee owners, to get together and vote to take your neighbor to court. I don't feel there is a sure fire solution to any problem when you put it up for a vote of Board members or home owners. Maybe I am living in the wrong place at the wrong time and I am not advocating nor do I think Judith is, to do something a specific way. It is just a conversation that maybe will ring a bell.
Having said that, I think your point is well made and maybe Hotalk will consider putting a limit on the number of posts per subject.

Regards,
Robert1
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/07/2007 2:04 PM  
Melissa, Ever hear of the delete key on your computer? It does wonders.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/07/2007 2:36 PM  
Is there such a thing as a block black out key. That's what I need. All the government has them and they use them all the time when forced to give out stuff under Freedom of information law. Looks like one of those censored letters from the war front during the Second World War.( Ain't that a hell of a name) Trouble is I would like to be able to censor them after I find out I screwed sometime up.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8753


07/08/2007 6:21 AM  
I am sorry to make everyone so upset. The fact does remain that posting someone's name in an effort to collect money owed is NOT a guarantee that's going to happen. You could post my name on the HOA website, I may never even see it. If I don't care enough to pay my dues, I am not going to care enough to read or review a HOA webpage. That's just the cold hard facts of the situation. Sorry can't sugar coat it.

Has someone ever stopped drinking and driving because they have their picture posted in a newspaper? Have Sex offenders/child molesters with the notification law, stop committing crimes because you are notified who they are? Most likely not. What has worked to get them to stop? I believe it's the law and jail time. All of which cost the tax payers money to support.

I don't think shame exists anymore for most people. Posting information for the public eye doesn't slow anyone down or get action taken. Enforcing the laws does. Sorry that it costs money to file a lien or to do a foreclosure. However, they are guaranteed to get results and the proper attention. They offer solutions and not more risks. You risk the HOA getting sued for slander or other issues. Why give the non-payer the upper hand?

Now you may say what you want about me. That's fine. But when the rubber meets the road, you will find I am correct. You want action done, you have to take the legal actions available to you and others. This is spoken from experience. I never said it was easy. It's just what has to be done.

Former HOA President
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/08/2007 7:59 AM  
For someone who wanted to throw ice on a topic, you sure are posting, Melissa. Although ultimately of course you have to follow legal means, there are certainly ways to increase compliance in addition to calling in the big guns. Certainly a well-formed collection policy includes taking into account psychology as well as the law. (i.e. I stated there was a direct correlation between consistency and compliance in our association, it also helped tremendously to be in touch with the PMs that were handling offsite owner's properties). I think there is much to be gained from comparing what others do in collections -- what works and what doesn't. Particularly as the housing market declines, it is bound to be a hot topic. Already in our area associations are feeling the heat -- particularly those with high assessments. In such an atmosphere you want to collect the money, and collect it now! Not doing so exposes you to losing the money in foreclosures and bankruptcies. Interested homeowners will also want to be assured that their associations are keeping their accounts receivable as low as possible -- it is the health of the association that is at risk.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/08/2007 8:58 AM  
Judith and Melissa,
Well, I for one would like to have the both of you doing the job here.
With your knowledge and concern I am sure everyone would like to have you both in their organization. I'm not blowing smoke either. I guess God didn't have enough people that cared enough so he had to spread them out pretty thin.
DuaneW1
(Georgia)

Posts:34


07/09/2007 8:23 PM  
'I feel I can speak on behalf of the majority of the members that post to this discussion forum, by saying you are “beating a dead horse” concerning delinquent homeowners. Basically saying it’s not fair'
AND
'Please help us help you we are all aware of those exact same HOA problems,'

Charles, I bet you like oxymorons too, don't you? Or were you just wearing your 'Trigger' shirt and wanted to let us all know that?

I'm not sure why you elected to point our my equine abuse problem, when the thread was not started by me, however in the future, concerning your obvious sensibilities towards this subject, why don't you just not open it, so you won't upset yourself?

In the meantime, on behalf of newbies like myself, of course threads are going to sound similiar, there is nothing new under the sun, after all. We all start our wide eyed, optimistic, and gung ho, and slowly wind down after the umpteenth call about so and so's dog on the lawn or someone is playing basketball and it is nine o'clock at night.

It WAS nice to listen and share with others suffering through the same stuff, without worrying about someone recognizing we were talking about them. I LIKED knowing we were all in the same boat, and that it took a bit of the stress off realizing that people really are the same everywhere.
CharlesW1
(Georgia)

Posts:826


07/10/2007 7:38 AM  
DuaneW1,

I apologize for my ignorance, but I fail to understand what you are insinuating, when you said “Or were you just wearing your 'Trigger' shirt and wanted to let us all know that?”
Please don’t take offense to my analogy. I never meant to offend you or anyone, just stating what many (I’m sure) were thinking. The majority of advice, opinions views and/or experiences posted have always been very informative.
The obvious fact, which this particular discussion was nearly three plus pages long and all pretty much saying the same thing was very apparent to me. Not to mention the hundreds of previously written posts discussing the same topic. I felt a decision could have been established prior to posting the question and certainly after the first page had been established. I too am a “newbie”.
I enjoy helping those who take the initiative to resolve an issue affecting their community. You are correct, We are all in the same boat, discussing the many problems that plague our HOA communities and seeking advice. The advice posted continues to help me better understand what a HOA should and shouldn’t do. I have learned more from those who continue to share their experiences and knowledge in the past year than I could ever imagine. Much of the advice posted is written by board members/previous board member, attorneys, etc. All posts written have given me a much better appreciation for the thankless job of being a board member.
Again I don’t mean to be arrogant in my previous post, but I do feel that the original question asked was indeed answered prior to proceeding into the 2nd, 3rd and now 4th page.

Sorry to have stated the obvious, statement withdrawn.
Chuck W.


Charles E. Wafer Jr.
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/10/2007 8:39 PM  
It seems to me that some have taken it upon themselves to be moderators of this message board when that is not their function in life. From someone who has moderated a message board, it always causes discord when people take it on themselves to do this.

As far as "The obvious fact, which this particular discussion was nearly three plus pages long and all pretty much saying the same thing was very apparent to me. Not to mention the hundreds of previously written posts discussing the same topic."

Okay, pop quiz. If a HOA does collections themselves are they covered by the Fair Debt Collections Act? If so, what case law covers this? If the HOA farms out collections is that person covered by the Fair Debt Collections Act? (I'm not asking for case law on this as it is easy to find)

If it was all old hat to you, you should easily be able to answer those questions. I am still waiting for the case law example so I am quite serious about this. If you can't answer the questions, and you can't find the answers in the discussion, I would submit there were some new issues being discussed and you just "tuned out". That is fine, just don't try to keep others from getting to the root of an issue that you don't care about.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8753


07/10/2007 9:32 PM  
Okay, I am violating my pledge here but someone stepped on my "pet peeve". Why is it soo important to see "Case law"???? Really? Are you a lawyer or trained in legal matters? We pay attorneys/lawyers because they are PRACTITIONERS of the law! We are mere servants to it!

Now I can quote about any "case law" that's ever been on the books. Can easily access many law sites on the web. Doesn't make me an attorney or can go to court with that information. The judge and attorney's already know that stuff or are paid to find out about it. It's there job, why should I do all their leg work for all the money they get paid?

Now, I have taken Law courses in college. Taken both criminology and business law. In all my time in those courses, it wasn't important to "quote" the laws. What was important was "translating" the law into layman's terms. Knowing what the law was trying to convey.

Many have noticed my posts and pick at them because I don't quote some statute or law. I won't do it. Most HOA must hire legal council to represent them in court. Now someone from the board can do it, but are you willing to trust an untrained not licensed individual to represent you in court? I'd be willing to spend the money to have professional help.

I have hired multiple attorneys over the years. I have had to file liens and even foreclosed on a house as President of a HOA. Not one time did I ever have to quote a law in doing so. I did have to reference the correct area in the CC&R's that allowed the HOA to file liens and do foreclosures. That was the extent of the legal "knowledge" I had to extend. Mind you, that I am knowledgeable enough to have filed and won these cases on my own. However, I am NOT licensed or a practitioner of the law. I don't have the "edge" that attorneys have with judges or court staff. Matter of fact, many don't appreciate an individual taking the law into their own hands and representing themselves. It may be our legal right to do so, but it can be a true disadvantage. I'd hire a professional any time of the week instead.

Sorry, to extend this post more. Was NOT my intentions. However, I felt everything had been covered extensively already. If not on this post, then others. Any newbie could search a bit more for other related posts and should. Just don't say that because you didn't see the exact quote or information format you wanted, that the horse wasn't beaten enough. This post is NOW Roy Roger's horse "Trigger" which is very much stuffed and available for viewing any time.

Former HOA President
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/11/2007 4:45 AM  
"Why is it so important to see "Case law"????"

Because Melissa, there are some times that one wants to separate fact from opinion. Without some authority behind statements all there is, is opinion, and there are a few things that one wants to know whether it is true or not. Simple. So simple. Just like you keep screaming (in all caps, that is what it is called) that HOAs are generally non-profit. You have been told before by experts on this forum that is not true, they are usually not-for-profit. Most do not qualify for non-profit status. However, since I have been active this is one of the common posts from you. I must have seen it 5 times in two weeks -- it rates right up there with your "you should not sue your association" post, and "you cannot fine members post". As far as being repetitive you had better first look in the mirror. And, at least for me, you would be well to have some sort of reference to back up your posts about things that should be provable.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/12/2007 5:39 AM  
My opinion,
Well, it appears to me the problem seems to be more a problem with the board than the one posting. The effort made to carry on a conversation with the membership is worthy. As far as getting wires crossed because of an attempt to communicate is a challenge we face daily, and we deal with it. If a Board member is not a team player and is doing something to obstruct the Boards responsibility or endeavers, this is a problem that should be mediated, not controlled by direction from the other Board members. This person was elected by the membership to do the best job they can. That, to me, means they have equal standing. Which is the worse of two evils, have one member that attempts to communicate to the Board and to the membership, or, have a member that never put themselves in a position that the board can find fault with their action (inaction). Sure, the vocal member that tries to establish communication (listening and talking) will stick his foot in his mouth once in a while and damage control may be needed. If we got rid of that kind of person, there wouldn't be any left in the world. Harmony, United front, a good working agreement among board members may be what we shoot for, but, trials and tribulations built the country, in a significant contribution.
DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 7:40 AM  
There is something in this that doesn't make sense. Now if the web site were "public", that is there was no log in required, then I would say that you can't publish the information generally. But if the web site were for "unit owners only", then I can't see why disclosure would matter.

Florida law allows any member of the Association for review any Association document or the books. So if the books were made perpetually available on a web site, for example, the units that were delinquent would be a matter of association record, and available to all unit owners as required by law. There is no "discloser", since everyone in the association as the right to know what's going on.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/22/2007 8:57 AM  
David,
I believe most can see the logic in your reasoning. However, I think the consenus here is that as a practical matter it is best not to post names of deliquent owners. The conclusion seems to be there is little to gain and the possibility of a lot to lose through the courts. Of course the laws have differences from state to state, which don't help matters, wheen giving advice.
A Board member or members that are called to make this decision also have a duty to their association that they do no wrong to the best of their ability.
I don't think it has been brought up here but suppose an owner would decide to sue the Board to publish the names and the judge so ordered and the names were published. I imagine then the board might want to rethink their original decision. But you still have to contend with what do you gain by putting out the names; right or wrong.
DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 9:09 AM  
I'm not trying to claim its a good thing to do or not, only that I can't see how it can be a legal matter to make information that is readily available in the office available more easily, as long as its only unit owners that have access to the information. The problem with most HOAs is that they are so afraid of getting sued that they don't enforce the rules, which puts them at risk of getting sued as well. You end up with a big mess. It also seems that there should be a distinction between someone who is late because they can't make their payment, and someone who is thumbing their nose at the association. My association is all wealthy people, so there is no excuse for someone not to pay their $1000/month.


DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 9:36 AM  
Note that I'm also not saying to post a statement like "Fred smith in unit 1201 is LATE on his payments!!!". I'm suggesting something like:

Unit 1201: $800. overdue 50 days
Unit 1202: up to date
Unit 1203: up to date


Where noone is being singled out. I don't think there is much point in doing it, but its really no different than looking at the books.
DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 9:46 AM  
It would be nice if you could edit these, maybe community123.com is listening

Also, it seems that the "consensus" seems to be worried about people "googling" the site. HOA websites generally have logins, so the information is not Googlable, or readable by anyone not in the association. You don't want HOA message boards to be googlable, and they're not. Because if you don't log in, you can't read the messages.

Because of this, such content is not considered "Public". I know the original question was about a public website, but HOA websites are rarely "Public". Just because a web site is accessible from the internet doesn't make the content "public".
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/22/2007 9:51 AM  
David,
I take it then your interest is not primarily if the deliquents are posted, as much as it is your declaration that most boards are afraid of being sued. Addressing the "sued" part only. I would say all boards are afraid of being sued, that is part of their job to see that doesn't happen. I can be very critical of the actions of BoD, maybe overly so, but push comes to shove, they have to make the call. Maybe you are right in how you feel and it may be true for all boards, but, not likely. There are some horror stories on the internet about abusive BOD and managers, but so far any advice I have read on this site comes from folks I wouldn't mind having on my board or in Management. The hardest part I find of being on the other side of the board is knowing when to back off for the greater good. That means I have to accept decisions I don't like and absolutely know they are making a mistake, maybe.
DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 10:05 AM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 07/22/2007 9:51 AM
David,
I take it then your interest is not primarily if the deliquents are posted, as much as it is your declaration that most boards are afraid of being sued. Addressing the "sued" part only. I would say all boards are afraid of being sued, that is part of their job to see that doesn't happen. I can be very critical of the actions of BoD, maybe overly so, but push comes to shove, they have to make the call. Maybe you are right in how you feel and it may be true for all boards, but, not likely. There are some horror stories on the internet about abusive BOD and managers, but so far any advice I have read on this site comes from folks I wouldn't mind having on my board or in Management. The hardest part I find of being on the other side of the board is knowing when to back off for the greater good. That means I have to accept decisions I don't like and absolutely know they are making a mistake, maybe.




I think the fact that they are on this message board is an indication that they are at least trying to "do the right thing", which should be the goal. The horror stories are because there are so many inept boards. To me, you have to do what makes sense for the majority of people. You might get sued for trying to enforce a rule, but you also can get sued for not enforcing the rules. But the worst thing that Boards do that they do things without any sound reasoning behind it. Regarding this issue, the only way that posting delinquent accounts might benefit the Association is if peer pressure will help to get people to pay. You have a fiduciary duty to collect the money, and if you have to take out a loan because you can't get some people to pay, or if you have to pay legal fees to try to collect, then everyone in the association is affected. So if the tactic is legal and it helps the association, then its up to the board to weigh whether it is worthwhile. You also want to avoid having to sue people. So the circumstances of why you would or wouldn't to it is a factor as well.
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


07/22/2007 10:20 AM  
David,
I would have to take exception to your conclusion that the Board should take action that insue the happiness of the majority.

I believe, the Boards mandate is to the Real Property, especially in condos. Owners come and go like customers in a gas station, the real property is what enables the association to exist. Anytime a board makes a decision that protects or improves the real property, they are doing their job. More trouble is caused by trying to please most than ever will be caused by protecting and improving the real Property.
DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 11:02 AM  
Posted By RobertR1 on 07/22/2007 10:20 AM
David,
I would have to take exception to your conclusion that the Board should take action that insue the happiness of the majority.

I believe, the Boards mandate is to the Real Property, especially in condos. Owners come and go like customers in a gas station, the real property is what enables the association to exist. Anytime a board makes a decision that protects or improves the real property, they are doing their job. More trouble is caused by trying to please most than ever will be caused by protecting and improving the real Property.




Wow, I couldn't disagree more. I think that your attitude is typical however, and exactly the reason the people say things like "I'll never live in a condo again", and why most condos are barren, uninteresting places to live.

I equate your attitude to parenting. Your obligation as a parent is to make sure your child has food and clothes and shelter and to make sure they go to school. You have no obligation to give them a happy life. You can set rules and curfews and make your child's life a living hell and still meet your obligations. Or you can be fair and firm, and take him to disney world once in a while. You can meet your obligations without being a cold ogre. If you do so fairly, and take the child's lifestyle into consideration, you'll have a happier and more cooperative child, and the overall job is easier.

I believe that, while its not the OBLIGATION of the Board to try to make a condo or HOA a great place to live, a board that discounts lifestyle is a lot like a bad parent; not "bad" in that they don't provide basic needs, but bad in that they don't seem to care about the very people they were elected to make decisions for.

I also believe that lifestyle can be a substantial component of the value of an Association. A building that is known to be divisive and cold and that has no social activity is not going to be as desirable a place to live as one where everyone says how great the place is. And maybe people won't be moving in and out "like a gas station" if the place wasn't such a miserable place to live as well?


You don't "please" by always doing the popular thing, you "please" by making it clear why what you're doing is in the best interests of the Association as a whole. Just like a parent has to explain to his child why he can't have everything he wants. People aren't stupid (well most aren't). You let the people in the building feel that it is THEIR home, and that you, as a board member, are really just one of them who has been granted the privilege of making the final decision on a lot of important things.

DaneC
(California)

Posts:210


07/22/2007 11:30 AM  
In September 2002 a jury victory was won in the case Robinson v. Prophecy Homeowners Association, Inc. et al. in Prince George's County, Maryland. The jury found that the publication of a homeowners association newsletter containing the debtor's name and debt owed with the title "Hall of Shame" violated the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act.

The jury found that the newsletter violated the section of the law which makes it illegal for a debt collector to 'Communicate with the debtor or a person related to him with the frequency, at the unusual hours, or in any manner as reasonably can be expected to abuse or harass the debtor. Maryland Commercial Law Art. 14-202(6). A post-trial motion for fees has been filed (see Briefs).
http://www.worshamlaw.com/debtcollection_cases.htm
DavidR5


Posts:0


07/22/2007 12:03 PM  
Posted By DaneC on 07/22/2007 11:30 AM
In September 2002 a jury victory was won in the case Robinson v. Prophecy Homeowners Association, Inc. et al. in Prince George's County, Maryland. The jury found that the publication of a homeowners association newsletter containing the debtor's name and debt owed with the title "Hall of Shame" violated the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act.

The jury found that the newsletter violated the section of the law which makes it illegal for a debt collector to 'Communicate with the debtor or a person related to him with the frequency, at the unusual hours, or in any manner as reasonably can be expected to abuse or harass the debtor. Maryland Commercial Law Art. 14-202(6). A post-trial motion for fees has been filed (see Briefs).
http://www.worshamlaw.com/debtcollection_cases.htm




I'm sure the "hall of shame" title didn't help their case.

There is a distinction I think of "singling someone out" and just making association info available. You're better off just accidently mentioning it to the Association gossip and letting word get around. Its probably faster that way anyway
JudithC
(Virginia)

Posts:253


07/22/2007 1:43 PM  
Dane, thanks for that link as earlier we had been asking if there had been any recorded cases about the issue. I found this statement interesting from the front page of the same site:

"The FDCPA Regulates Debt Collectors, Not Creditors
It is important to understand that the FDCPA regulates debt collectors, and not creditors. The creditor is the person or company who is owed money. A debt collector is a separate entity trying to collect the debt for the creditor. The Maryland law is more protective than the FDCPA, and regulates both creditors and debt collectors."

My initial reaction when reading the summary of the case concerned whether the association was collecting the debt or a third party. It seems Maryland has covered this by extending the basic protection of FDCPA to creditors also. Perhaps more states will do so.
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