Update: Collections During a Pandemic
Many associations have inquired whether they can take any collections action during this pandemic. Neither Federal or Washington or Oregon State laws, prohibit an association from sending delinquency notice letters, recording liens, or filing lawsuits.
As you may be aware, Washington originally issued Governor’s Proclamation 20-51 on April 17, 2020 and has extended it several times, most recently on December 8, 2020. Washington Governor’s Proclamation 20-51 currently prohibits an association from assessing late fees or interest on delinquent accounts. Originally, the Proclamation also prohibited assessing fines for violations of the governing documents, but this restriction was lifted and, as of August 2, 2020, Washington associations could resume levying fines for violations of the Association’s governing documents. Additionally, the Washington Governor’s Proclamation prohibiting garnishments has been lifted.
Oregon’s Governor has not adopted a proclamation similar to Washington’s, so associations in Oregon can assess late fees and interest on delinquent accounts, as well as levy fines. Furthermore, the Governor’s Proclamation prohibiting lenders from proceeding with foreclosure does not apply to community associations, which means that Oregon associations can proceed with a lawsuit to foreclose its lien for unpaid assessments. At this time, Washington and Oregon associations have many collection tools at their disposal, but Washington associations cannot levy late fees and interest on delinquent accounts.
No one knows exactly how long we will be dealing with COVID-19 or the economic impact it will continue to have on our communities; however, we do know that associations need to collect assessments to pay its common expenses. If you would like to discuss collection options for your association, please do not hesitate to contact our collections department. Barker Martin would appreciate the opportunity to create a tailored collections program for your association!