Q&A: Late Payer

Q I am the property manager for a medium sized condo association. There is an  owner who is several months behind on their assessment. We have followed the  standard protocol of the association of sending out notices and it is reached  the point where we should have to put them in collection. The owner lost her  job a couple months ago and is in a tight financial situation anyway, so we  have tried to remain sensitive to the situation but the delinquent payments  keep accumulating. What should we do next? Do we place a lien on the property?  Is there anything in the IL Condo Act that specifies a course of action for  such situations?  

 —Being Proactive  

A “Everyone’s declaration and the Act, in particular, Sections 9, 9.2 18 and 18.4, covers  assessments and their collection,” says attorney Sima Kirsch of The Law Office of Sima Kirsch, P.C. in Chicago. “No board may forgo collection; to do so is a breach of its duty to the other  owners. Therefore, a board is best served to establish a policy for assessment  collection being sure it is in procedural compliance with the law and keeping  in mind that every owner must be treated similarly and similar issues must be  handled similarly. Each declaration provides the board immediate options, if  policies are in place, and a board is empowered to select among the methods  depending on the problem. If there is a tenant there are other rules that  apply. The sections of the act and those of your declaration must be read and  interpreted in junction with other federal and state laws and statutes that can  be complicated in their proper application such as the Civil Practice Act, the  Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Housing Act. A board to be  proactive should hire an attorney to understand its primary functions and  assistance with creating a best practices board.”