This article is how to increase payments into the communal fund; dealing with hardened debtors will be covered in a later article.
Owners’ not paying their communal fees in full or on time is a problem most communal buildings face. While there are certain circumstances when the chances of collection are low, most get away with not paying, simply because of a lack of appropriate action to get that debt.
Step 1: Remove Excuses
Owners trying to avoid paying their communal fees will generally look for some kind of justification to explain their actions, both to themselves and others. Removing these excuses makes it harder for them to find this justification.
The most common excuses are; Lack of accounts transparency, no committee or improperly elected committee, no recent AGM in last 12 months, low levels of site maintenance & lack of knowledge of their obligations.
Step 2: Provide 100% Transparency
Related to step 1 but vitally important, it’s essential to make all aspects of the communal operations fully visible to owners. Include accurate and clear monthly income & expense reports, records of the AGM & committee meetings, breakdown of fee calculations etc.
There are many free online password secured file storage solutions available to help distribute these documents to owners.
Step 3: Provide Consistency
Even the strongest structure can be overcome by constant, well placed and steadily increasing pressure.
Always chase overdue payments as soon as they become overdue. Have a set chase schedule and elevation procedure and stick to it. Every contact should provide a slightly higher level of pressure than the last and never allow long periods of no contact with owners in arrears.
It takes time and effort; so expect to make 20-60 contacts (phone calls, emails, visits etc) per debtor to obtain a payment.
Step 4: Know your rights and obligations
The management committee are the elected representatives for the property owners and responsible for millions of euros of property investment. You should study in detail the regulations; and make use of your rights.
Of course make use of local resources and communal property experts for advice.