We know the importance of collections. We know that clients do not want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars per delinquent account without getting results. Our firm therefore pioneered the industry with results-oriented collections that we call Common Sense Collections. We place the financial burden of collections and place it where it should be – on the delinquent owner and debtor.
Our firm pioneered the industry with results-oriented collections that we call Common Sense Collections
Collections for community associations is a core part of our legal practice. As your association’s counsel, we will employ the necessary means to engage delinquent parties at whatever level is required to obtain payment.
At Lueder, Larkin & Hunter, LLC we assist clients in all aspects of collections. We typically send out a thirty-day demand letter. If the demand is unsuccessful, we will then file a lien against the owner’s property and advise the client as to his or her options, which can include the filing of a lawsuit against the delinquent owner. If a judgment is obtained, we take the necessary steps to perfect and collect the judgment, including post-judgment discovery, garnishment or attachment.
Don’t give up too quickly. Sometimes a debtor files bankruptcy, which many individuals believe destroys their right to recover. A bankruptcy may not necessarily mean that you will not collect what is owed. Depending upon the type of bankruptcy filed, and the amount at stake (so as not to throw good money after bad), we investigate all possible avenues to ensure that your association recovers as much as possible.
- Common Sense Collections - The Concept
Community associations are entirely self-funded from the assessment payments of their members. When members (owners) do not pay, an association’s revenue is reduced, along with the association’s ability to satisfy its continuing obligations. Simply put, when owners become delinquent, such nonpayment directly affects the association’s ability to operate. As a natural result, the owners who are paying their assessments unwittingly subsidize the delinquent owners who are not paying. Worse, the delinquent owners continue to benefit from the association. Adding to the financial strain is that associations then redirect more of their ever-tightening budgets toward the costs of collection against the nonpaying owners. Recognizing these problems, the Georgia legislature has passed various laws that make it abundantly clear that community associations are entitled to recover their attorney’s fees and costs against the delinquent owners. Lueder, Larkin & Hunter, LLC has multiple programs to assist your association with its collections without breaking the bank. Contact us today to learn more!
- Common Sense Collections - The Process
Step 1. Collection Demand Letter (Warning of Lien). The first step is a collection demand letter to the delinquent owner (and co-owner, if any) demanding payment in full within 30 days. The collection demand letter informs the owner that if payment of any amount less than the full amount owed is not received within 30 days, a notice of lien will be recorded against the owner’s property. The owner is also informed that if the notice of lien is recorded, the attorney’s fees for that next collection step (Step 2) will increase sharply and will be added to the owner’s balance. This is the leverage that has a strong tendency to motivate delinquent owners to pay, or work out a reasonable payment plan, in order to avoid increased attorney’s fees. Our emphasis on aggressive pre-litigation collections has proven to be very effective.
Step 2. Notice of Lien. If the owner has not paid in full within 30 days, or has not worked out an acceptable payment plan within the 30 days, or has defaulted on a payment plan, the second step is the filing of the notice of lien. A copy of the notice of lien is sent to the owner at the same time it is sent to the courthouse to be recorded. We strive to aggressively collect assessments. Since we inform an owner in our initial collection demand letter that a notice of lien will be filed after 30 days, we will follow through and file it.
Step 3. Lawsuit. If an owner has not paid after the first and second steps, a collection lawsuit against the owner might be appropriate. The primary purpose of a lawsuit is to obtain a judgment against an owner that will then allow the association to garnish the owner’s wages, bank account, or rental income. Garnishment occurs only after a judgment has been entered, and a judgment can only be entered after a lawsuit has been filed.
Step 4. Post-Judgment Collections. Our post-judgment collections will generally include skiptracing of assets by our firm’s paralegals and garnishment of the owner’s wages, bank account, and/or rental income.