Delinquency Notice Letters
As the lead attorney in Barker Martin’s Collections Department, I am often asked whether an Association is required to send an owner a delinquency notice letter before turning an account over to an attorney for collections. While there is a requirement under Washington and Oregon state law to send budget notices to all owners, the Association is not required under state law to send a delinquency notice letter to an owner before turning the account over to an attorney for collections. However, as you may have suspected, an Association’s governing documents may require that a notice be sent to an owner prior to turning over their account for collections. For example, the Association’s Rules and Regulations may provide that a “delinquency notice shall be sent” prior to sending an account to an attorney for collections. Please note, Oregon state law and/or an Association’s particular governing documents require the Association to send notice to an owner before commencing a foreclosure lawsuit; however, this article is focusing on whether a delinquency notice letter must be sent to an owner by the Association prior to contacting an attorney to assist with recovering the owner’s unpaid assessments.
Even if there is not a specific requirement to do so, sending a delinquency notice informing an owner of his or her delinquent balance may result in an owner sending in payment in full or communicating with the Association to setup payment arrangements without the need to involve an attorney. Additionally, if the owner receives a delinquency notice letter stating that the owner will be responsible for any administrative fees, attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in turning the account over to an attorney for collections, then an owner may be motivated to work with the Association to resolve the outstanding balance to avoid having their account sent to the Association’s attorney.
Delinquency notice letters probably will not result in all owners resolving their delinquent account balance, but sending at least one delinquency notice letter will likely reduce the total number of delinquent accounts that the Association may need to turn over to an attorney for collections.
If your Association would like assistance drafting delinquency notice letters or would like feedback regarding the contents of your Association’s delinquency notice letters, please do not hesitate to contact Barker Martin. We would be happy to assist!