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HOA Homefront – Reader questions: They aren’t paying!

By in Press Enterprise on June 19, 2017

By Kelly G. Richardson

Q: Our HOA reserves are extremely low and our collections are growing worse by the day. We are a gated community with many renters. Can we deny access to the automatic transponder gate to delinquent owners/renters and require they wait at the guarded gate for entrance? Can we deny the use of pool, tennis, clubhouse, laundry room, etc.?

Our CCR’s state that we must provide unit access to owner/occupant.

If the association has not taken these or other serious actions, could the board and the manager be sued? To date, we just lien properties that go back to the bank and we rarely get paid or go after an owner. — J.S., Santa Ana

A: The association cannot bar owners from their property, not even if they are delinquent in their obligations to the community. Civil Code 4510 does not allow associations to keep owners from their property, either directly or through banning access to common area.

However, there are other measures which can be taken.

The board could, after a hearing, suspend the member’s rights to common area amenities and voting rights. Disabling the transponder so the delinquent owner must use the visitor entrance is also an option, as it is not barring the owner from their property, but rather disabling a convenience – the remote control of the association gates. Posting a list of delinquent owners to embarrass them is sometimes mentioned, but is a very bad idea.

One of the most important responsibilities of HOA boards and managers is to ensure all members pay their obligations under the association’s budget. Sometimes boards are tempted to not pursue arrearages, out of compassion for the struggling owner, but this ignores the rights of all the other owners who pay their share.

By far, the most effective technique is to promptly pursue delinquencies before they become too […]    

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