Berding | Weil Community Association ALERT Newsletter
Legal News and Comments for Community Association Boards and Managers Issue #99 • December 2012
The What and How of Personal Reimbursement Assessments and Collection
by Steven S. Weil, Esq.
A Familiar Issue
The association incurs an expense or imposes a fine against an owner for common area damage or the violation of the governing documents. Is the owner responsible? How can the association collect the money spent as a result of “bad conduct” of the owner (or their tenant)? Consider this:
Oren Owner is drunk. Instead of waiting for the security gate at the entry of his development to finish opening, he drives through smashing the gate. The repair cost turns out to be $1,500. Oren continues driving and parks his car on the driveway of his lot. The car, having been smashed on the undercarriage, leaks oil causing a stain on the driveway. Power blasting the stain away will cost $1,000.
Oren is blissfully unaware of all of this. Instead, he continues partying with friends and some backyard dancing to loud rock 'n' roll until 4:00am. The board notices a hearing and imposes a $100 fine for the noisy behavior; a reimbursement assessment of $1,500 for the cost to fix the gate; and a $1,000 reimbursement assessment for the cost the association will (and later does) incur to power blast the driveway.
Oren is given notice of the penalties but ignores the manager's request for payment. Counsel is engaged. She reviews the CC&Rs – including the enforcement, reimbursement assessment and lien provisions – and sends a formal demand letter addressing these issues. The demand letter requests payment of $3,500 including $900 in legal fees (for the analysis and letter) and management fees (for preparing a previous demand letter and phone calls with the lawyer). Oren responds saying, among other things, “No, I won't pay”.
$1,500 Reimbursement assessment for amount paid to gate contractor to fix damaged gate on common area based on CC&R provision requiring owners to pay for damage they cause to common area
$1,000 Reimbursement assessment for amount paid to paving contractor to power blast the driveway necessitated by Oren's breach of the CC&R provision banning driveways with oil stains
$100 Fine in an amount based on the “schedule of monetary penalties” arising out of Oren's noisy behavior which unreasonably disturbs his neighbors thus constituting a “nuisance”
$900 Reimbursement assessment for legal and management fees the association incurred in curing the damage and dealing with the CC&R breaches.
These expenses, depending on the definitions used in an association's CC&Rs, are variously called “reimbursement assessments,” “single individual assessments,” “personal assessments,” or other similar phrases. Here, we're calling them “personal assessments” for convenience.
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By Tyler Berding
 

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