For HOA board members, there are few tasks more unsavory—or at the very least delicate—than collecting dues and assessments. Certainly, your HOA needs to collect assessments in order to build a capital reserve and complete community improvement projects. It is also important to collect dues in a fair manner; if some members aren’t paying their fair share, it can sow seeds of resentment and division within the community.
At the same time, asking people to pay can be uncomfortable—especially when some homeowners express a disapproval of the HOA, or voice some kind of financial hardship. These issues are never easy to deal with, but HOA board members can at least take some steps to make the practical elements of assessment collection a bit easier to manage.
One way to make the assessment collection process a bit easier is to make it easy for members to pay. When members have a convenient, hassle-free way to pay, they will prove a bit more willing to do so. If your HOA doesn’t have online payment capabilities on your website, speak with your property management company (or Web developer) about enabling this right away. Something as simple as setting up a PayPal account can make a big difference.
Another tip: Regularly remind people that they need to pay their dues. People are busy, and providing a little bit of encouragement can be helpful. Even a blurb in each month’s newsletter, or on Facebook and Twitter, can get results. Making late fees and the collections process clear is also important.
A final tip: Don’t be afraid to exercise some tough love when you need to. Reaching out to a delinquent member and taking a firm stance early on will hopefully prevent that homeowner from developing a larger debt—so it’s best for everyone in the long run.
This is not a popular or fun topic, necessarily, but it is something that HOA board members should think about critically and strategically, for the good of the entire community.