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Delinquent Owners: How Can a Board Suspend Privileges?

Dealing with delinquent owners can be trying for many associations.  Even with a proper collection policy, it is sometimes the case that the monthly late fees added to their account do not motivate delinquent owners to pay on time.  We are routinely asked for other ways to motivate owners to pay their dues.  One way to motivate owners to pay their assessments is to suspend certain privileges.

Both the Ohio Condominium Act and the Planned Community Act provide a Board of directors the right to suspend the voting privileges and use of recreational facilities for any owner who is delinquent for more than thirty days, unless the governing documents state otherwise. 

Typically, many governing documents also provide for the suspension of privileges for delinquent owners.  Our office generally recommends that if an association’s governing documents are silent on the issue of suspension of privileges, that a provision be added to allow for the Board to suspend certain rights of delinquent owners.

The first type of privilege that can be suspended is the right to vote.  This means delinquent owners would be prohibited from voting in the election of officers at the annual meeting and for any proposed amendments to the governing documents.

Another type of privilege that may be suspended is the right to use recreational facilities.  This would prohibit delinquent owners from using facilities like the pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, storage lockers, etc.  We have noticed great success in motivating delinquent owners to pay when they realize they are denied access to recreational facilities, like the community pool.

Either of these suspensions can be adopted by the Board and added to the association’s collection policy.  Once these provisions are added to the policy a copy of the rule must be sent to all owners in the association.  We also generally recommend that any owners receiving a suspension of privileges be notified of such suspension.  For example, before an annual meeting, all delinquent owners should be notified that they will be unable to vote for the election of officers.

Neither the Ohio Condominium Act or the Planned Community Act mention the right to suspend an owner’s right to present an application to the Architectural Review Board or to prohibit a delinquent owner from running for the Board.  These types of provisions can be adopted if they are properly added to an association’s Architectural Review Guidelines or as an amendment to the governing documents.

As always, if your association is considering taking steps to adopt a suspension of privileges provision, please contact our office for specific advice.

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