Things can get ugly when homeowners (members) fail to pay their assessments.

BUT every common interest community (CIC) should have a collection policy that standardizes the approach to resolving past due accounts.  Assessment revenue is the lifeblood that funds your operating expenses!  Please do not assume that you need to hire an attorney to collect on behalf of your community.  Attorneys are not debt collectors.  At least consider an approach where you pay nothing up front. 

State statutes vary greatly regarding collections and foreclosure.  In Washington State, recent House Bills 1482, 1349 and 1686 became effective starting May '21 and HB1636 made further changes effective 07/23 and January 2025: RCW 64.90.485, 64.34.364, 64.38.100 and 64.32.200.

Lien Foreclosure Requirements (WA State)

Reference RCW 64.90.485, RCW 64.34.384, RCW 64.38.100, RCW 64.34.200 (effective to January 1, 2025 and after January 1, 2025)

Recently updated requirements to foreclose a lien in Washington state (certain adjustments effective January 1, 2025) are as follows: 

Ducks Have Sent this HOA Into the Lagoon

Multiple states prohibit foreclosing liens related to fines, late charges, interest and other fees or costs (see above example).  Texas law prohibits foreclosing liens for amounts that aren't tied to assessments, so this case had a peaceful resolution after filing 84 exhibits and motions.  Each party paid their own attorneys' fees.  QUACK!

Read CIC Info Bytes to learn how one association steered itself into the lagoon!

Example Collection Policy

N.B.  This policy can be adapted for use in ANY common interest community.

EXAMPLE CIC Collection Policy - Washington State

Example Notice of Delinquency / Pre-Foreclosure

WA State Requirement Reference RCW:64.90.485, 64.34.364, 64.38.100 and 64.32.200

EXAMPLE Notice of Delinquency
Statutory & Governing Documents Hierarchy

Statutory & Governing Documents Hierarchy