Using Small Claims Court to Pursue the Collection of Delinquent HOA Assessments

Homeowners associations (“HOAs” ) have various avenues to pursue the collection of delinquent HOA assessments from homeowners. One alternative that can be very effective and which is often avoided by HOAs is to file an action against the homeowner in the local small claims court. Because most assessment collections involve amounts that are under the statutory limit of small claims actions (typically between $3,500 and $10,000 – determined by the state laws in the HOA jurisdiction), an HOA can file a suit directly against a delinquent homeowner personally and avoid going through the expense, and delays that generally accompany pursuing collection through the alternative lien and foreclosure remedies. Furthermore, pursuing assessment collections in small claims court avoids the need to worry about, and comply with, many of the notice and alternative dispute requirements that are typically a prerequisite to the use of lien and foreclosure collection remedies.

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