Answering Objections: Other owners don’t pay their communal maintenance charges and get away with it, so why should I pay my Communal Fee?
In this article I discuss how to answer one of the most common objections given by owners who have stopped paying their communal maintenance fees. If you have been involved in collection of the communal fund, you will have heard this objection.
Getting to the Source of the Problem
There is a false, but very common opinion that owners of communal property in Cyprus can get away with not paying their apartment building or resorts communal maintenance fees.
While collections is a tough task requiring many different methods and tools (check out my other articles for advice on how to do this) the law is on your side.
Despite what others may say, if you know the regulations, your rights as a committee and take the appropriate steps and actions it’s actually quite hard to get away with paying communal maintenance charges.
So what’s the problem then?
Simply, Owners and committees don’t know their legal rights, obligations and how to use the methods and tools available to them to effectively make owners pay their communal fee and collect the communal fund.
Note: This is one of the primary reasons for the founding of the CyprusCommunalGuide.com
If using ineffective or in some cases nearly non-existent collection methods, or you are in the process of chasing debts but are not effectively communicating to the owners who do pay what you are doing to collect the arrears, the owners who do pay get frustrated at the ones ‘getting away with it’ and make this objection.
How do you deal with this objection?
Your 1st Answer. Make sure you inform them of the tools you are using to pursue the debtors.
Providing your committee is legally elected at a properly formed AGM, and the communal fee is charged correctly, no owner should be getting away with non-payment.
Unlike Credit Cards, payment of the Communal fee is a legal obligation set out in the core property law. Any debts can be secured by court order against the property similar to a mortgage, or council rate arrears.
Getting collections from debtors takes time, but it’s important for owners to know this process has been started. Whether you have in-house credit control, use external debt collectors or jump immediately to legal action.
Quick Note: I have a juicy article coming soon about improving collections without the delays and costs of legal action so don’t forget to check back, or like our Facebook page to get an update when its released.
Let them know that debtors pay for these delays as you can add costs for lawyers, debt collection fees etc. to their debt which can be a significant increase.
Your 2nd Answer. Use my favorite ideal-world/real-world statement.
In an ideal world everyone would pay on-time and in full, but we live in the real world.
Some owners will delay or avoid paying their communal fees, and we all know it takes time to pursue these.
This means while the committee takes the action against the debtors the burden falls with those that do pay to cover the shortfall.
It’s not ideal, it’s not fair or pleasant but unless people want their buildings to go derelict it’s what needs to happen.
By stopping paying their fees, all they will do is add to the problem, and rack up a load of extra costs in the process.
If they still object.
This will give you the ideal opportunity to demonstrate that you do not ignore the debtors, and how much work goes into collecting. Show them every step by running them through your collections procedure until they do pay 🙂
The Cyprus Communal Guide
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