Monthly charges, including common charges, emergency repairs, special assessments, maintenance fees, dues and so forth, are a big part of owning a condominium in New Jersey.
When an owner is late, or misses monthly payments entirely, it affects the association as a whole and can adversely impact the entire community. There is less revenue that month, so savings may have to be raided to cover operating costs. Property managers have to spend time better invested elsewhere dealing with the problem. Legal fees may have to be shelled out. And so on.
What steps can a board take to make sure their association's owners keep up with payments? And what recourse do boards have when said payments are late, or missed for months at a time? Let's take a look.
The Two-Percent Problem
The word arrear is similar in sound and spelling to rear, as in one's hindquarters. And indeed, both words share the same Middle English root. To be in arrears—the word is always used colloquially in the plural—is just a snazzy, legalese way of saying to be behind in one's payments.
While no one presumably wishes to be in arrears (for reasons we'll get to in a moment) the vicissitudes of life, livelihood and the economy ensure that the occasional delinquency is inevitable.