As summer begins and the temperature rises, people are eager to cool off in community pools. For homeowner’s associations and condominium associations, this can be an opportunity to encourage members behind in their assessments to get caught up.
Before an association starts suspending pool passes to encourage members to pay their dues, however, it should be aware of provisions in Virginia Law that affect what actions it can take. Both the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and the Virginia Condominium Act allow an association to suspend services (including use of common areas such as pools) for failure to pay assessments, as long as the association complies with certain requirements.
First, an association can only suspend privileges to the extent the declaration of covenants and the rules or regulations provide. In other words, if the association’s declaration, or its rules and regulations don’t allow it to suspend pool passes of members behind in their assessments, then it can’t do so.
Second, an association can only suspend privileges for members more than sixty days behind in their assessments. Members that are less than sixty days behind can still use the pool.
Third, before an association suspends anyone’s privileges, it needs to give the member an opportunity to be heard before the board of directors or other tribunal specified in the documents. The association has to provide notice of the hearing, including any charges or sanctions that may be imposed, at least fourteen days in advance.
Finally, suspensions cannot preclude access to the lot or endanger the health, safety, or property of any owner, tenant, or occupant.
In this difficult economy, assessment collection can be especially challenging, and suspension of services is one way to encourage members to catch up on their payments. The facts and circumstances of every situation are unique, however, and there may be other options available to an association to encourage payment on delinquent assessments. An experienced Community Association Law Firm can provide counsel and support to help an association collect on past-due assessments without violating your governing documents or Virginia law.
Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law
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