SECTION 4: DEBT RECOVERY
Non-payment by some homeowners can sometimes affect provision of services to the others, or can result in the other homeowners being liable to meet the non-paying homeowner's debts (if they are jointly liable for the debts of others in the group). For this reason it is important that homeowners are aware of the implications of late payment and property factors have clear procedures to deal with this situation and take action as early as possible to prevent non-payment from developing into a problem.
It is a requirement of Section 1 (Written statement of services)that you inform homeowners of any late payment charges and that you have a debt recovery procedure which is available on request.
4.1 You must have a clear written procedure for debt recovery which outlines a series of steps which you will follow unless there is a reason not to. This procedure must be clearly, consistently and reasonably applied. It is essential that this procedure sets out how you will deal with disputed debts.
4.2 If a case relating to a disputed debt is accepted for investigation by the homeowner housing panel and referred to a homeowner housing committee, you must not apply any interest or late payment charges in respect of the disputed items during the period that the committee is considering the case.
4.3 Any charges that you impose relating to late payment must not be unreasonable or excessive.
4.4 You must provide homeowners with a clear statement of how service delivery and charges will be affected if one or more homeowner does not fulfil their obligations.
4.5 You must have systems in place to ensure the regular monitoring of payments due from homeowners. You must issue timely written reminders to inform individual homeowners of any amounts outstanding.
4.6 You must keep homeowners informed of any debt recovery problems of other homeowners which could have implications for them (subject to the limitations of data protection legislation).
4.7 You must be able to demonstrate that you have taken reasonable steps to recover unpaid charges from any homeowner who has not paid their share of the costs prior to charging those remaining homeowners if they are jointly liable for such costs.
4.8 You must not take legal action against a homeowner without taking reasonable steps to resolve the matter and without giving notice of your intention.
4.9 When contacting debtors you, or any third party acting on your behalf, must not act in an intimidating manner or threaten them (apart from reasonable indication that you may take legal action). Nor must you knowingly or carelessly misrepresent your authority and/or the correct legal position.