The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many businesses to an abrupt stop not just in the United States but around the world, as well. Should your HOA join the widespread halt among service providers, or should your HOA board soldier on in providing community services? And if your board chooses to persist, should you then collect assessments during coronavirus to sustain your efforts?
Why an HOA Still Needs to Collect Assessments During The Coronavirus Outbreak
This crisis is truly a global disaster on an unheard-of scale in recent times. It’s truly unprecedented in scope. This is the first time that all 50 states of the United States are under disaster declaration at the same time.
It’s not just a health crisis, either. The measures needed to contain COVID-19 have also dealt a serious blow to the economy.
Businesses have closed down, and unemployment has skyrocketed to record numbers. At this rate, the U.S. is now getting ready for what looks to be an unavoidable economic downturn.
Your HOA is a business just like all the other business organizations affected by the pandemic. Your HOA members, likewise, are also affected by this outbreak, the same as everywhere else. The HOA needs funding to carry on, and one way to do that is by continuing to collect association assessments.
Why Your HOA May Be Forced to Collect HOA Assessments
The decision to collect assessments during COVID-19 is one that you need to study well if you’re part of the HOA management team. Collecting assessments during ordinary times is unpopular at best.
Collecting homeowner association assessments at a time like this? It’s safe to say that the decision to go collecting condo assessments or HOA fees during this time will be met with resistance.
However, the HOA board needs to be completely aware of their financial situation. Not many HOAs are completely prepared for an event of this scale. Chances are, many associations will not have the reserve funds to keep up with expenses during a quarantine.
Your HOA will need to pay for regular expenses. Your association is still dealing with essential services, and these services all cost money.
While you may forego your landscaping and lawn maintenance for a month or so, you can’t skimp on basics like trash removal and security. Hence, these things will need to carry on like usual, even in a situation like now.
The community needs to be able to keep itself clean and secure especially in times like these. So it’s important to make it clear to your HOA members that while some of them may be out of a job, the neighborhood still needs to be maintained for the safety of everyone.
Thus, you will need to come to a decision to collect HOA assessments if your HOA board needs to. Then, you will need to be upfront and transparent to your HOA members about the need to keep your community clean, safe and orderly —and what that will cost.
Managing the Collection of Assessments During Coronavirus
So your HOA has decided to continue to collect assessments during coronavirus pandemic, hopefully after an agreeable consultation with residents. That’s great news for everyone involved. It means your community can continue moving forward to ensure that your neighborhoods are clean, safe, and orderly for all the residents.
That said, it’s also great if your HOA can make some adjustments to take into account the financial situation of its members. Not all homeowners will have a steady income in a situation like this. So it’s important to consider some options when it comes to collecting condo assessments or HOA assessments in this time of crisis.
One way to ease the burden off on your residents is by setting up payment plans for your assessments. As much as possible, the HOA board will want to simplify the collection of assessments by getting a single payment from each homeowner. But if a resident asks for some consideration, it’s important to be able to offer some alternative payment plans.
Ideally, the HOA board should be able to determine if the resident is really in need of a payment plan. It’s best to handle requests like these on a case-to-case basis. You can have regular assessment payments from residents who can pay upfront, and payment plans tailored to those who can’t.
Minimizing the Need to Collect Assessments During COVID-19
In times like these, the HOA board needs to do everything it can to extend the budget it still has access to. The board needs to take the steps needed to cut down on the HOA regular expenses.
It’s always a good idea to check with your bylaws first if it’s possible to implement cost-reduction measures like:
- The temporary suspension of non-essential services
- Suspension or postponement of non-urgent repairs
- Postponement of new projects and construction
Collecting assessments during coronavirus is not an easy decision, but a decision has to be made nonetheless. It’s important to be able to communicate your HOAs funding needs clearly to every paying homeowner to avoid conflicts. If you need help in managing your community especially during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
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