A.M. from New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My father is behind on maintenance fees. The condo association said it’s working on being able to take away the assign parking spot and have the car towed. Is this legal and wouldn’t that be grand theft auto to tow a car that is registered and insured that is the spot assign to you for the last 21 years?
Mister Condo replies:
A.M., I am sorry that your father has become so delinquent on his common fees that the association feels it needs to take such drastic action. I am not an attorney nor do I work in law enforcement but I don’t think towing a car is equivalent to theft, especially if that car has no right to be where it is parked. The association wouldn’t be stealing the car; they would simply be removing it from association property because of delinquency, regardless of the previous 21 years of assigned use. The bottom line is that your father has entered into an agreement to receive services from the association, including the use of the parking area. He is now in full default of that agreement. The association is obligated to protect itself and all other members of the association from the fallout that occurs when members become delinquent. Honestly, removal of parking privileges is the least of your father’s worries. What comes next is foreclosure on his home, forcing him out of the complex entirely. If he is genuinely unable to get current on his common fees, he needs to find another place to live that he can afford. The association has little choice in this matter. If everyone behaved as your father has, the association would run out of money and quickly become unable to maintain itself. I hope you find a satisfactory solution for the sake of all involved. Good luck!
2 thoughts on “Condo Association Acts Against Delinquent Owner”
If I were the association, I would be very careful that state law and the association documents provide the right to tow the vehicle for delinquency. They might be much better off turning the account over to a collections attorney and following the law for collections and foreclosure. At best towing the vehicle will likely just delay the process and result in less actually collected – at best.
The solution is to engage the delinquent owner and see how he can be helped. As a collections professional I know that accommodations can be made to pay down the debt. The Draconian processes of foreclosing on people (taking away their homes), and towing their cars do not work. It only winds costing the association more money and aggravation. Engage a collections agency who understands the delinquent owners problems, will not bury the delinquent owner in absurd fees, and will work out a payment plan to get them on the right path.