New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

Find an Amicable Arrears Solution

Sami Najjar
Partner, Sandra Greer Real Estate

Find an Amicable Arrears Solution

Setting the Scene

We had a unit-owner in a condominium who had a very good job. She owned her apartment for many years. All of a sudden, she wasn’t paying her common charges. The board looked at the growing debt with mounting concern. Its members knew that there are limited options for collecting common charges in a condo. There was a lot of discussion about legal actions, such as putting a lien on the apartment, but also talk of ways to help the owner out.

Following the Action

This subject was discussed at almost every meeting. Then we asked the board to let us intervene, and we had a conversation with the unit-owner. She was very apologetic. She had lost her job. We then went to the board, explaining that we believed the unit-owner was looking to pay every single penny owed. We asked the board to give her one final chance before beginning legal action.

We went back to the unit-owner and had a second discussion. We brainstormed. One possible solution: if she temporarily moved in with her parents and rented the apartment, she would have money (from the renter) to pay her current common charges and would also be able to pay a portion of her arrears every month. We followed this course. The apartment was soon rented. The board reviewed the package and approved the sublet, and the tenant moved in. Every month, the unit-owner collected the rent and paid her current common charges and a part of her arrears, based on the payment plan we had discussed. She kept on track and was able to pay back everything she owed. She eventually secured a new job. When the sublet ended, the tenant moved out and the unit-owner moved back in. She is currently in very good standing with the condo.

Doing It Right

In these tough economic times, nobody is immune to bad luck. A layoff can happen. Somebody can get sick and not be able to work anymore. They can fall behind for any reason. Before adding legal bills and putting more stress on the person, try for an amicable solution.

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