Vehicle Access and Pre-Judgment Garnishment of Rent to Collect
Lanier Coulter, Esq.
November 26, 2012
a previous blog I highlighted several options to collect
blog addresses two techniques utilized by several communities to
collect assessments, specifically, suspending vehicle access and
garnishing rent. These
two options are dependent on the authority in the governing
documents for the community and, with regard to suspending
vehicle access, whether the association owns or has rights to
either the roads or parking areas.
your community's governing documents may expressly grant the
association authority to suspend vehicle access through a common
gate and parking on the common elements or association property.
However, please note that pedestrian access for purposes
of ingress and egress to the owner's property cannot be
restricted. Prior to
imposing this sanction, the association should talk to its legal
counsel to ensure all proper steps are taken.
For example, the association may be required to give ten
(10) days' notice, sticker the vehicle, or provide the violator
with a hearing prior to suspending access.
The board should carefully consider whether it has
notified the owners and residents of this remedy prior to
booting or towing improperly parked vehicles.
After all, the goal is not to boot or tow improperly
parked vehicles, but instead to encourage the owner to pay
assessments to the association.
your community may have the right to garnish rent if the owner
is delinquent and renting the unit.
If provided for in your community's governing documents,
this remedy is often outlined in the leasing provision of the
even if the association does have the right to take this action,
there are a few things to consider.
The board should ensure it does not violate the Fair Debt
Collections Practices Act when enforcing this provision, so
please discuss this remedy with legal counsel.
Also, depending on the reaction of the renter, the
association may be forced to obtain a judgment against the owner
prior to enforcing the rent garnishment against the renter.
Of course, the association cannot retain more funds than
it is owed, so the association must carefully monitor how much
is gathered through the pre-judgment rent garnishment process
and keep the tenant informed of when to stop remitting payment
to the association.
while an association may have the right to impose these
sanctions, it should carefully consider how to provide notice to
the owners and residents as well as consult with counsel prior
to utilizing either of these options.